Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Georgetown Law Center’s Community Justice Project: Employing Eclectic Strategies for Social Change

Georgetown Law Center’s Community Justice Project takes a unique approach to clinical teaching and policy advocacy. Students represent both individual and organizational clients and learn that effective advocacy may require multiple approaches. Towards that end, students serve as advocates, consultants, advisors, capacity-builders, strategic planners, policy analysts and community organizers.

The clinic is directed by Professor Colleen Shanahan and was founded by Professor Jane Aiken, co-director and Dean of Clinical Education, Public Interest and Community Service. Students are supervised by Professor Shanahan and Clinical Teaching Fellows Amber Baylor and Daria Fisher

Issues tackled by the Community Justice Project students range from notario fraud and human rights to parole issues and environmental justice. Though recently focused on issues in Washington, DC, clinic students have represented clients as far as India and Nepal. The students’ efforts are always effective, comprehensive and of great assistance to the client and community.

The students have worked on geriatric parole legislation in Missouri, legislation to advance the confidentiality rights for sexual violence survivors in Nepal, comments to the Prison Rape Elimination Act, and other policy efforts. This past year alone, students developed

  • a model Ban the Box Legislation and Implementation Guide to address discrimination and increase employment opportunities for returning citizens, to complement the private Ban the Box legislation they drafted for a D.C.-based coalition. Their comprehensive report is available here
  • a strategic plan for a community organization serving the Transgender Community in Washington, D.C., available here
  • a proposal for increasing resources for unaccompanied homeless adults, based on consumer interviews, an analysis of current gaps and resources in federal and local regulations, and including funding matrices. The proposal is available here.

             For a summary of past projects, click here

Congratulations to the Community Justice Project on their innovative approach to legislative and policy advocacy in the clinical setting, as well as their enormous success on behalf of the community.

For more information on this exciting approach to teaching policy advocacy, email Colleen Shanahan at cfs32@law.georgetown.edu


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