Friday, May 24, 2024

2024 CLEA Awards for Outstanding Clinical and Externship Students: Syracuse's Christopher Foreman, Chezelle McDade, and Thomas Sheffield

Each year, the Clinical Legal Education Association invites law schools to nominate students as their Outstanding Clinic Student or Team and Outstanding Externship student. This series includes submissions from law schools celebrating their outstanding students. 

From Syracuse University College of Law:

Outstanding Clinic Team: Christopher Foreman and Chezelle McDade

In the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic, the student attorney team of Christopher Foreman and Chezelle McDade worked together to lead a class of students who submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Van Dermark v. McDonough. The case presented important questions about the obligation of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to reimburse veterans for their out-of-pocket costs for emergency medical treatment received outside the United States. Left intact, the Federal Circuit’s decision would mean that veterans who live or travel abroad may be forced to shoulder the costs of treatment for medical emergencies occurring abroad, even though the same costs would be covered if those medical emergencies occurred in the United States. By submitting an amicus brief in support of a petition for a writ of certiorari for Mr. Van Dermark, the students not only raised issues unique to Mr. Van Dermark but also highlighted the need for clearer policies by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs covering veterans seeking medical treatment overseas.

At the beginning of the Veterans Legal Clinic Semester, attorneys from a firm in Washington, D.C. reached out to ask if the VLC would be willing to write an amicus brief in support of petitioner Mr. Van Dermark. The students took thoughtful and deliberate steps to determine if this solicitation aligned with the goals of the Veterans Legal Clinic and also if it presented an opportunity to make a more strategic impact on the veteran community. The students invited the attorneys to speak to the class to learn more about the request, and excitedly agreed to work on the amicus in addition to their assigned client caseloads.

Student attorneys Christopher Foreman and Chezelle McDade volunteered to take the lead in organizing the efforts to create a project plan to manage all the various aspects of writing an amicus brief. They collaborated extremely effectively together and established a timeline for research, writing and editing; broke the brief into appropriate sections; tasked assignments out to groups of students; scheduled routine check-ins and progress updates with their professor; and even leveraged an existing relationship with an experienced law firm to enter into a formal engagement letter for advice and counsel throughout the process.

The result was an extremely well written brief that was cited to by Mr. Van Dermark’s reply in support of his cert petition. The attorneys for Mr. Van Dermark especially appreciated the students’ thoughtful discussion of the “pro veteran canon” which instructs courts to interpret any ambiguity in federal laws concerning veterans benefits in favor of veterans. While the petition was ultimately denied, the students gained incredible insights into how to write an amicus brief and the opportunity to make a contribution to veterans law at the national level. An amazing experience for not only this team of students but the entire Veterans Legal Clinic who proudly served as amicus curiae and whose names were included in a footnote of the brief.

Outstanding Externship Student: Thomas Sheffield

Thomas has demonstrated excellence in his externship placements and seminar components through his efforts in taking placements that specifically focus on public interest and advocacy for underserved or marginalized populations, and though his conscientious attendance, reflection, and participation in the accompanying externship seminars.  Thomas completed three externships in his law school career.  His first externship was with the ACLU of Mississippi in Spring 2023.  In Fall 2023 and Spring 2024, Thomas externed at the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of New York.  Throughout these placements, Thomas continued to excel in his academic career.  Thomas’ valuable work for justice throughout his externship placements are deserving of recognition.

May 24, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

2024 CLEA Awards for Outstanding Clinical and Externship Students: Nebraska's Tavia Bruxellas McAlister and Abbey Lanzarin

Each year, the Clinical Legal Education Association invites law schools to nominate students as their Outstanding Clinic Student or Team and Outstanding Externship student. This series includes submissions from law schools celebrating their outstanding students. 

From the University of Nebraska College of Law: 

Outstanding Clinical Student: Tavia Bruxellas McAlister

Tavia Bruxellas McAlister has been selected to receive the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) Award for Outstanding Clinic Student.

The award recognizes excellence in the field work component of a clinical course determined by the quality of the student’s performance in assisting or representing individual or organizational clients or in undertaking advocacy or policy reform projects; excellence in the seminar component of a clinical course determined by the students’ thoughtfulness and self-reflection; and the nature and extent of the student’s contribution to the clinical community at the law school.

Bruxellas McAllister was nominated for her hard work, devotion, diligence, and the remarkable impact she had on the program and her clients during her time in the Immigration Clinic.

Outstanding Externship Student: Abbey Lanzarin

Abbey Lanzarin has been selected to receive the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) Award for Outstanding Student in the Nebraska Law Externship Program.

The award recognizes excellence in the field work component of the externship course determined by the quality of the student’s performance in assisting or representing individual or organizational clients or in undertaking advocacy or policy reform projects; excellence in the seminar component of the externship determined by the student’s thoughtfulness and self-reflection; and the nature and extent of the student’s contribution to community at the law school, legal community, or broader community.

Lanzarin was nominated by Director of Externships Elsbeth Magilton in recognition of her genuine engagement in the educational process.


May 24, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 23, 2024

2024 CLEA Awards for Outstanding Clinical and Externship Students: Baltimore's Devante Jones and Ouranitsa Abbas

Each year, the Clinical Legal Education Association invites law schools to nominate students as their Outstanding Clinic Student or Team and Outstanding Externship student. This series includes submissions from law schools celebrating their outstanding students. 


From the University of Baltimore School of Law: 

Outstanding Clinic Student Award: Devante Jones of the Criminal Defense and Advocacy Clinic

Nominated by Prof. Katie Kronick and Johnny Kerr, Devante’s advocacy skills and ability to build trust with his clients are exceptional. In a case where the client’s prospects at trial seemed dim, but the plea offer was even worse, Devante won on two of three counts and convinced the judge of the fairness of halving the requested sentence. Invited back by his professors for a second semester, Devante also prepared an excellent suppression motion and ultimately negotiated a very good plea for the client. We are proud to have Mr. Devante Jones representing our law school in court and in the community.

Outstanding Externship Student Award: Ouranitsa Abbas

Nominated with enthusiasm by Prof. Neha Lall, Ouranitsa Abbas is committed to putting her principles into action through public service and by giving back to the university. Through externships with the Office of the Public Defender, the Department of Justice, and the Baltimore City Circuit Court, she eagerly engaged in the crucial lawyering skill of self-reflection and fostered a supportive learning community among her peers. As well, she participated in the Innocence Project Clinic, completed over 200 pro bono hours, and served as a tutor and academic coach. Reflecting the best of UB Law, we are pleased to honor Ms. Ouranitsa Abbas.

May 23, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

2024 CLEA Awards for Outstanding Clinical and Externship Students: Drexel's Michael Harvey Broughton and David Zisser

Each year, the Clinical Legal Education Association invites law schools to nominate students as their Outstanding Clinic Student or Team and Outstanding Externship student. This series includes submissions from law schools celebrating their outstanding students. 


From Drexel Kline School of Law: 


Outstanding Externship Student: Michael Harvey Broughton

Michael Harvey-Broughton’s law school experience has culminated in an outstanding externship performance with the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project and within the related externship seminar. Mr. Harvey-Broughton distinguished himself from his peers as an effective advocate for those who are imprisoned consistent with his value to serve whom he describes as the “most forgotten people that live on the margins of society.” Pursuing procedural justice, he synthesized complex legal authorities and volumes of documents with effectiveness: “His combination of intellect, thoughtfulness, and professionalism makes him stand out among law students I've supervised. If he chooses to enter the field of civil rights litigation, he would be an asset to any organization or firm in this field, and I have no doubt that he would be able to hit the ground running as a practitioner on day one,” praised his externship supervisor. For his peers within the externship seminar, Mr. Harvey Broughton leveraged his communication and reflection skills as a discussion leader and active participant on topics such as ethics, cultural competency, and the roles of lawyers; he even co-hosted a webinar, entitled “Mastering Observations for Professional Growth”. Also notable, Mr. Harvey-Broughton served the region in the Mid-Atlantic Area Consortium of Law School Externship Programs’ presentation entitled, “Making a Mentor: How to Effectively Mentor and Supervise Externship Students” offered for CLE credit; as a panelist, he addressed an audience exceeding one hundred externship supervisors. It is with a sense of pride that Mr. Harvey-Broughton can speak of his externship accomplishments.

Outstanding Clinical Student: David Zisser

We are delighted to nominate David Zisser for the CLEA Outstanding Clinic Student Award for 2023-24 based on his exceptional participation in our yearlong Community Lawyering Clinic. From the outset, David demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of gentrification and other systemic harms impacting the residents of the neighborhoods surrounding our university and the need to engage in meaningful forms of accountability and repair, especially around homeownership and affordable housing. He applied those sensibilities and his passion for social justice to every aspect of his casework and his collaborative project work. David consistently showed tremendous enthusiasm, creativity, and courage in identifying innovative solutions to novel issues. At every turn, he was highly effective in harnessing his prior knowledge and experience to inform his clinic work while also remaining open to learning new approaches.

David set the highest standards of excellence and professionalism for other students in his written work, documentation, and communications. He demonstrated strong leadership and mentoring skills while also being a great collaborator and team player. He collaborated effectively with his less-experienced teammate and showed a similar level of support and care toward every other student. We were perhaps most impressed with David’s ability to ensure his clients felt truly respected and valued while navigating often-dehumanizing legal systems. We are confident David will continue to think critically about his role as a lawyer and will use his skills and access to help address the individual and systemic injustices facing his clients and their communities.

May 23, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

2024 CLEA Awards for Outstanding Clinical and Externship Students: UC Law SF's Gracie Winston and Jessica "Mali" Gillespie

Each year, the Clinical Legal Education Association invites law schools to nominate students as their Outstanding Clinic Student or Team and Outstanding Externship student. This series includes submissions from law schools celebrating their outstanding students. 

From UC Law San Francisco: 


Outstanding Externship Student Gracie Winston 

UC Law SF is recognizing Gracie Winston as CLEA Externship Student of the Year for their outstanding participation in two externships. Gracie was an outstanding seminar participant and community-builder in the Community Group Advocacy and Social Change Clinic as a 2L, working with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center to create outstanding community education materials and presentations on immigration law developments for immigrants, activists, and attorneys. In the Criminal Practice Clinic, they did excellent work with the Marin Public Defender’s Office and reflected insightfully on their experiences.

Outstanding Clinic Student: Jessica "Mali" Gillespie

UC Law SF is recognizing Jessica "Mali" Gillespie as CLEA Outstanding Clinic Student of the Year for her many contributions to the Clinical program at UC Law SF. Mali participated in the Refugee & Human Rights Clinic, the Lawyering for Children Practicum, the UC Law SF for Haiti Partnership, and the Immigrant Rights Clinic. All of Mali's professors agreed that she is one of the most dedicated students with whom we have ever worked. She is bright and hard-working, an excellent colleague, and an incredible and creative advocate for the clients she serves. She goes above and beyond, from learning Haitian Creole to preparing the green card application for her asylum client and her husband to serving as a Teaching Assistant to mentor other clinical students who came after her. When asked if she would take a break or a trip after taking the bar exam, Mali replied that she was going to use that last month before starting her job at the Concord Immigration Court to close out her remaining client work. That is Mali in a nutshell. Mali more than deserves this honor, and we cannot wait to see what she achieves in her future legal career!

May 22, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

2024 CLEA Awards for Outstanding Clinical and Externship Students: Loyola-LA's Emily Bernstein

Each year, the Clinical Legal Education Association invites law schools to nominate students as their Outstanding Clinic Student or Team and Outstanding Externship student. This series includes submissions from law schools celebrating their outstanding students. 

From Loyola Law School in Los Angeles:

Outstanding Clinical Student: Emily Bernstein

Loyola Law School is proud to nominate Emily Bernstein as Loyola’s 2024 Outstanding Clinic Student for her work in the Loyola Justice for Atrocities Clinic.

Emily Bernstein embodies the fearless, compassionate, client-centered approach the Loyola Social Justice Clinics stand for. From the moment she joined the Justice for Atrocities Clinic, she was unafraid to be vulnerable, and in doing so, empathized exceptionally well with the vulnerabilities of her clients—a young woman from Ukraine, the only survivor of a brutal Russian attack that killed all members of her immediate family, and an elderly Holocaust survivor who reminded Emily of her grandmother. Establishing these human connections with her clients further fueled Emily’s drive to go above and beyond for them by conducting multiple client interviews that far surpassed standard work expectations, chasing down every research lead, and using her “spare” time to hone her thoughts in ways that substantially strengthened arguments. Indeed, her passion for assisting her client led her to sign up for an additional semester in the clinic so she could continue to strengthen the legal brief to the European Court of Human Rights.

Emily’s empathetic approach extended to her clinic colleagues. In class, she was a creative thinker and reliable, supportive presence. Her colleagues praised her dedication, professionalism, positive and friendly demeanor, and tireless work ethic.

It is no surprise that Emily went on to intern this past fall for the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section of the U.S. Department of Justice—the original “Nazi hunters” and the office tasked with investigating and prosecuting human rights violators and international criminals.


May 22, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

2024 CLEA Awards for Outstanding Clinical and Externship Students: St. Mary's Fanisleidy Martin-Rodriguez and Rocio Moncivais

Each year, the Clinical Legal Education Association invites law schools to nominate students as their Outstanding Clinic Student or Team and Outstanding Externship student. This series includes submissions from law schools celebrating their outstanding students. 


From St. Mary’s University School of Law: 


Outstanding Clinic Student Award: Fanisleidy Martin-Rodriguez

Fanny was a champion for her Family Law Clinic clients and the children in her amicus cases.  She worked tirelessly to prepare her cases for trial. Whether reviewing hundreds of pages of documents, conducting hours-long interviews with numerous witnesses, or spending evenings and weekends for nearly a month preparing for final trial, she showed an uncommon level of commitment and dedication. Her work in clinic did not end there, though. She was a constant source of help and encouragement to her clinic classmates. She was always available to play the role of witness when her classmates needed to practice preparing their witness or conducting a direct or cross examination. Fanny is also a notary, and she would frequently volunteer to visit any client’s house who was homebound to notarize a needed document. She also took the lead in reviewing the Family Law Clinic intake phoneline. She would conduct brief intakes of anyone seeking our legal services, summarize those interviews, and present them to the director of the Family Law Clinic to determine which cases would be accepted. Fanny provided additional insight for each intake, which helped the director make the difficult decision of which cases to take and which to refer out. Throughout, Fanny’s confidence in her abilities grew exponentially.  Two professors in Fanny’s advocacy class noticed her increased confidence following her great performance at a clinic case trial. They commented that she almost had a swagger, when before she had seemed insecure. That’s the power of clinic!


Outstanding Externship Student Award: Rocio Moncivais

Rocio completed two Externships including one at the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. With her student practice card, Rocio set a goal to develop her litigation skills by supporting the attorneys in her unit to prepare for their hearings and represent Travis County in court. Beyond the usual research and trial prep, she successfully handled a felony plea, sentencing, and protective order hearing. Her site supervising attorneys found she excelled in communication in court and in working with victims outside the courtroom. In her final evaluation from her supervising attorneys, Rocio was praised for going “above and beyond” in her professionalism, effectively prioritizing, and collaborating with the team. She impressed them with her ability to work well both in-person and remotely, which highlights her ability to pivot and still exceed expectations. As her faculty supervisors, we observed the same high level of engagement in the Externship curriculum. She invested energy in reflecting on her challenges and skill development throughout the semester. It was evident in our fruitful one-on-one discussions and in the reflective process she demonstrated in her essays, Rocio spent her semester seeking and integrating feedback, asking questions, experimenting with new systems, and examining the role she would play in the justice system after graduation. We are proud to award her this year’s highest honor in our course.

May 21, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (1)

2024 CLEA Awards for Outstanding Clinical and Externship Students: IU Maurer's Amani Khoury

Each year, the Clinical Legal Education Association invites law schools to nominate students as their Outstanding Clinic Student or Team and Outstanding Externship student. This series includes submissions from law schools celebrating their outstanding students. 

From Indiana University Maurer School of Law:

Outstanding Clinical Student: Amani Khoury

It is our great pleasure at Conservation Law Center to nominate Amani Khoury. Amani has been a stellar colleague and student leader at CLC over the past two years. Her work product consistently demonstrates excellence in legal research, writing and analytical abilities. She received the highest grade in the clinic in her first year with us and we were so impressed with her that we invited her back to be a “junior attorney” with student oversight responsibilities this year. In that role, she has been incredibly helpful to the Clinic’s senior attorneys with ongoing cases and teaching. She has been an outspoken and professional student leader in both small group and large clinic settings. And, she demonstrates genuine interest in helping her fellow students succeed. As junior attorney at CLC, Amani is tasked with helping to oversee student work on multiple projects, including cases active litigation. That requires her to have an in-depth understanding of the facts and law of each case, review and provide feedback on student work, and host office hours at least twice a semester. We are confident that Amani is well on her way to becoming an outstanding attorney and she is, without a doubt, a model for what law students should aim to achieve when participating in a law school clinic.

May 21, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 20, 2024

2024 CLEA Awards for Outstanding Clinical and Externship Students: San Francisco's Alondra Saldivar and Monica Chinchilla

Each year, the Clinical Legal Education Association invites law schools to nominate students as their Outstanding Clinic Student or Team and Outstanding Externship student. This series includes submissions from law schools celebrating their outstanding students. 

The University of San Francisco School of Law is proud to recognize two outstanding students this semester with the Clinical Legal Education Association’s Outstanding Clinical Student and Outstanding Externship Student awards. 

Outstanding Clinical Student: Alondra Saldivar

In the Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic Alondra is representing a man from Nicaragua in an asylum claim based on his political opinion and LGBTQ status. Throughout her time in the Clinic, Alondra has demonstrated compassion and flexibility with her client, who was ill and had to cancel several appointments. She put in the time to build trust so that her client, initially hesitant to open up about his life, was able to share. Alondra prepared a detailed declaration for her client and her country conditions research to support the asylum claim was excellent. A consummate team player who is always willing to collaborate, Alondra assisted with countless translations and employment authorization document applications for other clients of the clinic. Additionally, over the past year, Alondra has been active in the Clinic's Unaccompanied Children Assistance Program (UCAP). She personally mentored and counseled three youth who had been arrested for selling drugs. Through her regular oversight over a period of months, the youth thrived; Alondra got them enrolled in school and afterschool programs, and the San Francisco District Attorney's Office ultimately decided to drop all charges. Alondra, along with the other students in the Clinic, also participated in an asylum filing clinic in Sonoma county working to prepare and file over 20 asylum applications with Clinic students and staff for individuals on the Clinic’s waitlist who are approaching the one-year filing deadline for asylum relief.

Outstanding Externship Student: Monica Chinchilla

Throughout her externship, Monica demonstrated high capability, growth mindset, and commitment to professional development. At Tyz Law, a firm primarily specializing in intellectual property protection and enforcement, Monica enthusiastically took on many new projects and showed great passion for learning. Monica’s supervisor found her to always be prepared and able to contribute thoughtful insights. She was also receptive to feedback, actively seeking it out to help improve her abilities. She performed nuanced legal research in many new areas, proving herself to be skilled both at research and analysis and applying the law to clients’ issues. Her work was thorough and insightful. Monica worked especially hard on cultivating a growth mindset, focusing on each new task or skill as a learning experience. In addition to her excellent work, she was highly professional, poised, diligent, kind, and approached her work with a good balance of seriousness and sense of humor. Overall, she demonstrated that she has the tenacity, insight, and intellectual curiosity to be a strong advocate. In the seminar component of the program, Monica put demonstrable time and effort into her contributions to the class, sharing her reflections and stimulating open and inclusive class discussion. Monica was also an outstanding student in the Internet and Intellectual Property Justice Clinic during her second year of law school in Spring 2023.

May 20, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

2024 CLEA Awards for Outstanding Clinical and Externship Students: Pepperdine Caruso's Macy Merritt, Max Lyster, and Abigail Glavin

Each year, the Clinical Legal Education Association invites law schools to nominate students as their Outstanding Clinic Student or Team and Outstanding Externship student. This series includes submissions from law schools celebrating their outstanding students. 

From Pepperdine Caruso School of Law: 

Outstanding Clinic Student or Team: Macy Merritt and Max Lyster

Pepperdine Caruso Law third-year students Macy Merritt and Maxwell Lyster, participants in Pepperdine’s Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic, successfully represented Dewitt Lamar Long in a civil rights case in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Long is a plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging that Hawaii prison officials violated his constitutional rights when they failed to accommodate his requests for non-pork meals in accordance with his Muslim faith. His lawsuit also alleges that prison officials retaliated against him when he complained about the failure to provide him with non-pork meals. The district court dismissed some of his claims before trial, then conducted a bench trial in which the court ruled against him on his remaining claims.

Long, who represented himself at trial, appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which appointed the Pepperdine Caruso Law Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy clinic to represent him on appeal. The appeal challenged both the district court’s pretrial rulings and the district court’s factual findings at trial. The appeal was particularly challenging because it raised issues that are subject to three different standards of review. Lyster and Merritt filed an opening brief and a reply brief on Long’s behalf and then participated in oral argument before a three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit’s courthouse in Pasadena. The judges asked several questions of both students during oral argument and commended them for their excellent briefing and argument. After the argument, the court issued a published opinion ruling in Long’s favor and finding that some of his claims were improperly dismissed.

Outstanding Externship Student: Abigail Glavin 

After receiving a well deserved high pass in the Fall 2023 as a student in the Faith and Family Mediation Clinic, Abigail Glavin felt so committed to her work helping those in need and to the clients whom she serviced during the semester that she asked to stay on to work as an extern. During the course of the Spring 2024 semester, Abby far surpassed my expectations. Not only did she stay on to assist in ongoing mediations, but she also took on a leadership role and brought 3 outstanding mediations to complete conclusions on her own. The clients whom she assisted expressed directly to me their appreciation of her professionalism, creativity, empathy and work ethic.

Abby also served as a mentor and advisor to the students currently enrolled in my Spring seminar and clinic and helped them navigate in a way that minimized the startup costs embedded in clinical work — thereby helping the students, me and my clients. Abby’s work in the areas of direct client communication, active listening, empathy, patience with clients and with her peers, and finding creative solutions in the context of dispute resolution were all exemplary.

In addition, during the course of her work was an extern, Abby was always visibly striving towards the highest ethical standards; she would often vocalize, inquire and workshop ethical questions that arose in her externship with me, but in other legal professional contexts where she worked as well.

Abby is determined to grow her legal skills in all ways open to her. She is able to absorb and operationalize constructive criticism in a way that distinguishes her from her peers whom I have taught and/or supervised before.

Abby showed a remarkable interest in and commitment to self-reflection. In particular, she exemplified a readiness to explore, analyze and understand how at any given moment, her own personal experiences or biases may be affecting her work as a family law mediator.

Abby’s organizational skills and timeliness were also noteworthy as was her dedication to the clinical program at large. Abby took enormous initiative and developed several output projects - all of which she delivered on - that will benefit students who come after her in my clinic.

May 20, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 6, 2024

Spring 2024 CLEA Newsletter

CLEA has published its Spring 2024 Newsletter, full of good news about clinical professors, programs, publications, and more, including an important article from Robert Kuehn on the costs (and myths about the costs) of clinical legal education. 

Read it here!

From the Co-Presidents' Message: 

We are thrilled to see so many of you at the AALS Clinical Conference to celebrate the achievements of our community over the last year and look forward to the necessary work we each must take on in the coming months and years. We are particularly excited to honor Leigh Goodmark and the Wake Forest Veterans Clinic with the 2024 CLEA Awards for Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers and Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project.

Amid ever challenging times both domestically and internationally, we hope you all find inspiration from the items shared in this spring’s newsletter and from meeting both old friends and new colleagues at the conference.  

May 6, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Law School Deans and University Presidents with Roots in Clinical Legal Education

Updated and updating, May 16, 2024. 


In preparation for a workshop at the AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education for clinical professors interested in law school leadership and administration, I have been assembling a list of law school deans and university presidents with experience and backgrounds in clinical legal education. 

I relied on law school biographies, Rosenblatt's Dean Database, personal knowledge, the generous insight of expert clinical professors who have been part of this movement across its several generations, help from the LawClinic listserv, and outreach from the deans themselves. (This is a working project, so please leave a comment or email me with any additions or corrections.)  

These are the current deans or university presidents with backgrounds and experience in clinical legal education (2023-2024): 

Johanna Bond (Rutgers) 

Nicky Booth (UIC)

Camille Carey (New Mexico)

Camille Davidson (Southern Illinois)

Daniel Filler (Drexel) 

Zelda Harris (Western New England, former interim dean at Loyola Chicago)

Renée McDonald Hutchins (Maryland, former dean at UDC) 

Lolita Buckner Inniss (Colorado)

Melanie B. Jacobs (Louisville) 

Richard Moberly (Nebraska)

Brian Pappas (North Dakota)

Patricia Roberts (St. Mary's)

Tania Tetlow (president at Fordham, former president at Loyola - New Orleans)

Elizabeth Kronk Warner (Utah)

Frank Wu (president of Queens College, former dean at Wayne State and UC Hastings (now UC Law San Francisco))


These are deans appointed for 2024-2025 with backgrounds in clinical education:

Anna E. Carpenter (Oklahoma)

Jenny Roberts (Hofstra)

Julie Lawton (interim dean at DePaul)

Nick Schroeck (interim dean at Detroit Mercy) 


These are former deans and university presidents with backgrounds and experience in clinical legal education:

Jane Aiken (Wake Forest) 

Michelle J. Anderson (CUNY, now president at Brooklyn College)

Judith Areen (Georgetown, AALS Executive Director)

Barbara Bergman (interim dean at New Mexico)

Doug Blaze (Tennessee)

Katherine S. Broderick (UDC)

Edgar Cahn and Jean Camper Cahn (founders of Antioch School of Law, now UDC) 

Ron Chen (Rutgers)

Robert Dinerstein (acting dean at American)

Charles Halpern (founding dean at CUNY)

Joe Harbaugh (Nova Southeastern) 

Joan Howarth (Michigan State)

Peter Knapp (interim president and dean at Mitchell|Hamline)

John Kramer (Tulane) 

Joyce McConnell (West Virginia, later president at Colorado State)

Elizabeth McCormick (acting dean at Tulsa) 

Elliot Milstein (American, interim president at American, former president of AALS)

Eric Neisser (acting dean at Rutgers, later dean at Franklin Pierce)

R. Nils Olsen Jr. (Buffalo) 

Peter Pitegoff (Maine)

Leo Romero (New Mexico) 

Suellyn Scarnecchia (New Mexico)

Robert Smith (Suffolk)

Deanell Reese Tacha (Pepperdine) 



March 14, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (6)

Monday, January 15, 2024

Never Call Retreat: Martin Luther King's Prophetic Stand in the Shadow of the Confederacy

In March 1965, Dr. King, his team, and the community led the Selma to Montgomery March. After a state trooper’s murder of activist Jimmie Lee Jackson, after Bloody Sunday when Alabama State Troopers sicced dogs on the marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, after Fred Gray and his legal teams secured orders from Judge Frank Johnson against Gov. Wallace and the State of Alabama, the numbers swelled until 25,000 marched into Montgomery, up Dexter Avenue and to the steps of the Alabama State Capitol on Goat Hill.

They marched for voting rights. Lyndon Johnson had signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but, as King said in his speech in Montgomery, “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave Negroes some part of their rightful dignity, but without the vote it was dignity without strength.” Against all odds, these marchers were calling for the American aspirations of self-governance, self-determination, enfranchisement, liberty and freedom. They marched for a full voice in democracy, and they aimed to deliver a petition George Wallace and the Alabama Legislature. Wallace denounced the march and ordered state troopers to use whatever means necessary to stop them. He failed.

As they approached Montgomery, march organizers petitioned for a permit to set up a stage and have speakers address the crowd from the steps of the Capitol. Wallace refused, so they set up a stage on the street at the top of Goat Hill, just feet from the sidewalk and the steps up the Capitol.

This is the Alabama State Capitol Building where Alabama adopted its Ordinance of Secession on January 11, 1861. It hosted the Montgomery Convention in February 1861 where the rebel states attempted to establish a new sovereign, the Confederate States of America, and to establish a new government that would protect and promote the institution of white-supremacist slavery. On February 18, 1861, Jefferson Davis stood on the Capitol steps and gave his inaugural address. There’s a gold star on the spot where he stood to memorialize the moment to this day.

At the end of the Selma to Montgomery March, across the street from Dexter Avenue Memorial Baptist Church where he was pastor a decade earlier and helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and at the very threshold of the Confederacy, and in the shadow of a white-supremacist, segregationist, Jim Crow government, the speakers called for a full measure of human dignity, a full franchise under the law, the promise of a beloved community built on inalienable rights. Dr. King noted the significance of the place:

Now it is not an accident that one of the great marches of American history should terminate in Montgomery, Alabama. Just ten years ago, in this very city, a new philosophy was born of the Negro struggle. Montgomery was the first city in the South in which the entire Negro community united and squarely faced its age-old oppressors. Out of this struggle, more than bus [de]segregation was won; a new idea, more powerful than guns or clubs was born. Negroes took it and carried it across the South in epic battles that electrified the nation and the world.

Yet, strangely, the climactic conflicts always were fought and won on Alabama soil. After Montgomery’s, heroic confrontations loomed up in Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and elsewhere. But not until the colossus of segregation was challenged in Birmingham did the conscience of America begin to bleed. White America was profoundly aroused by Birmingham because it witnessed the whole community of Negroes facing terror and brutality with majestic scorn and heroic courage.

Then he took a poetic turn, a prophetic charge, an outright provocation rooted deep in faith and nobility. Surrounded by all the intimidating vestiges of the Lost Cause and at the door of a governor who declared, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” Dr. King quoted a Christian hymn at the climax of his speech:

How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

How long? Not long, because:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;

He has loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword;

His truth is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;

He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat.

O, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant my feet!

Our God is marching on.

Glory, hallelujah! Glory, hallelujah!

Dr. King did not cite his source or name the hymn, but he and they all knew. Those verses are from the Battle Hymn of the Republic, the marching song of the Union Army in the Civil War, the anthem of liberation for the forces of the Republic that crushed the Confederacy and abolished slavery. Dr. King was nonviolent, but this was rhetoric to leave a mark. He planted the flag of Union and freedom, of American liberty for black people, right in the still twitching heart of the Confederate corpse. This was not mere “emotional bosh” as he said, it was a declaration of independence, rooted in faith and the righteous call of God, in the very shadow of the broken empire that would later kill him because he dared to humiliate them and expose the evil of comfortable racism. Dr. King brought the death of the Confederacy back to its home as he stood with 25,000 others demanding the full promise of the United States.  

President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in August, 1965.  

Since 2020, at the other end of Dexter Avenue, a mural around the Court Square fountain declares that Black lives matter, on the very spot were white Americans sold black human beings into captive labor for decades before the Civil War.

(These photos are from our annual Faith and Justice Spring Break trips when I asked students and staff to read Dr. King's speech on our walking tour up Dexter Ave.)  


January 15, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 8, 2024

CLEA Newsletter, Winter 23-24

Please read the Winter 23-23 CLEA Newsletter for many wonderful updates from clinical professors around the nation and insightful articles on our work. 

January 8, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 7, 2024

CLEA Statement on US News Rankings for Clinical Programs

From the CLEA Board of Directors and Executive Committee:

The Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) continues to oppose the ranking system used by U.S. News and World Reports (USNWR). CLEA exists to advocate for clinical legal education as fundamental to the education of lawyers, and one of our core points of advocacy is to pursue and promote justice and diversity as core values of the legal profession. CLEA has long recognized that the USNWR ranking system is at odds with our central mission, as it rewards schools who rely on high standardized test scores in admissions decisions and punishes schools who offer public interest fellowship programs to their graduates. CLEA’s recent restatement of our opposition to the standardized testing requirement in law school admissions before the ABA Council reiterated our position that the use of standardized tests to assess students and schools negatively impacts legal education and is racially discriminatory.

With regard to clinical rankings, the current USNWR ranking system places us in competition with each other, when we as a group see ourselves in a shared struggle for social justice and equity in legal education. Second, there are no articulated factors for ranking clinical programs, including whether to recognize the work of externship programs, so the voting can be arbitrary and inconsistent. Third, some schools may unfairly suffer because they do not have the budget or the support of their administration to market their program or send their clinical faculty to annual conferences.

For clinic faculty who are in a position to take action against the use of USNWR rankings, possible alternatives to participating in the ranking of clinical programs could include: (1) declining to submit a ballot at all and sending a letter to USNWR explaining why; (2) requesting that USNWR remove the school from the clinical ranking survey; (3) submitting a ballot in which the response for every school is "no answer;” and/or (4) making a public statement against the use of USNWR rankings requesting that others do not rank the school in the survey.

We understand that each law school has a unique set of needs and priorities. Some clinical programs outside the top-tier rankings have achieved recognition of their respective programs through the USNWR; and this, in turn, has allowed them to further advance the goals of their clinical education programs. Individual faculty may choose to continue to participate, or may not be in a position to refuse to submit a rankings ballot or ask that their program not be ranked.

If faculty do vote, CLEA urges those ranking clinical programs to focus on factors that promote the principles for which CLEA advocates, namely the increased presence of clinical education (law clinics and externships) in law school curricula, security of position for clinical faculty, and diversity and equity. In evaluating clinical programs, CLEA urges voters to consider: 1) the number of law clinic and externship slots available relative to the student population at a school; 2) the breadth and quality of clinical curricular offerings available to students; 3) the school's security of position, academic freedom, and governance rights for faculty who teach clinics or externships; and 4) the extent to which the school has committed to pursuing racial justice in its clinical program through its course offerings, impact on the community, and demonstrated commitment to diversity and equity in hiring and promotion of clinical faculty.

CLEA urges voters to score only those programs for which they have sufficient information to make informed decisions. It urges voters to choose the “No Answer” option when they have insufficient information to assess a particular clinical program. Last, CLEA also urges those who receive ballots to consult their clinical colleagues for their views to increase the range of informed opinions reflected in the balloting.

We are grateful to the growing list of law schools who have removed themselves from the rankings system for their advocacy and for raising awareness about the destructive consequences of the current system. We hope that our collective efforts move legal education towards greater equity and accessibility for future students and the legal profession.


January 7, 2024 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

SCHOLARSHIP ROUND-UP!!! 2022 publications

Our amazing community of clinical professors continues to produce excellent scholarship. We are so thrilled to share the 2022 publications submitted to our annual scholarship round-up. Congratulations to all the authors!

Asylum & Immigration

Nermeen Arastu, Access to a Doctor, Access to Justice? An Empirical Study on the Impact of Forensic Medical Examinations in Preventing Deportations, 35 Harv. Hum. Rights J. 47 (2022). The empirical study discussed in this Article—the largest-of-its-kind quantitative study of over 2,500 cases in which Physicians for Human Rights (“PHR”) facilitated medical evaluations on behalf of immigrants—found that 81.6% of individuals who received a forensic medical evaluation between 2008 and 2018 experienced some form of a positive immigration outcome. In comparison, immigration adjudicators only granted relief to asylum seekers an estimated 42.4% of the time overall during this same period.

The significant impact of forensic medical evaluations in contributing to a favorable immigration outcome raises questions about whether adjudicators are holding immigrants to overly-stringent evidentiary standards by constructively creating norms that require immigrants to gain access to health professionals with the requisite training to evaluate them. To the extent such evaluations become essential to the successful outcome of the legal case, access to a medical evaluator may indeed translate into access to justice.

Matthew Boaz, Practical Abolition: Universal Representation as an Alternative to Immigration Detention, 89 Tenn. L. Rev. 199 (2021). By demonstrating that the provision of counsel and other wrap around services is significantly less costly than immigration detention, while also showing that providing counsel and wrap around services is an extremely effective way to ensure compliance, this Article hopes to demonstrate appeal for such a proposal to those who may not typically align with an abolitionist ethic.

Matthew Boaz, Speculative Immigration Policy, 37 Geo. Immigr. L.J. ___ (forthcoming 2023). This Article considers how speculative fiction was wielded by the Trump administration to implement destructive U.S. immigration policy. It proposes that the harmful outcomes are not due to the use of speculative fiction, but rather the failure to consider the speculative voices of those who have been historically marginalized within the U.S. This Article argues that alternative speculative visions could serve as a platform for radical imagination about future U.S. immigration policies.

Gillian Chadwick, The Noncitizen Parent Trap, 71 Kan. L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2023). This piece focuses on the legal quagmire facing many noncitizen parents who become embroiled in litigation over the custody of a child they have in common with an abusive U.S. citizen coparent. A web of immigration and family law can keep noncitizen parent victims of abuse stuck in a kind of “noncitizen parent trap.” Such individuals are unable to maintain lawful immigration status and unwilling to depart from the U.S. because doing so would mean abandonning their child and jeopardizing their parental rights. This problem highlights key gaps at the intersection of immigration and family law which leave the most vulnerable noncitizens most at risk of losing their immigration status, their children, and their rights.

Linus Chan, with Christopher Lavasque and Kimberly Horner, Process as Suffering: How U.S. Immigration Court Process and Culture Prevent Substantive Justice, __ Alb. L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2023). This article draws from 35 semi-structured interviews conducted between August and December 2021 to understand how removal defense attorneys strategically navigate the shifting landscape of the US immigration court system. We argue that deportation proceedings represent a distinct form of punishment for non-citizens: first within the court process itself, and once again in the judge’s final decision. Critical to our study is examining how this punitive nature of the deportation process prompts removal defense attorneys to act in ways that often diverge from representation strategies in the misdemeanor criminal court system. Our findings suggest that formalized legal options in immigration proceedings are limited and put pressure on the legal process, which results in lawyers employing time-based strategies with an aim to arrive at better results for their clients. Interviews detail how and why removal defense attorneys often strategically increase exposure to the deportation process or conversely find ways to help their clients exit the legal process as quickly as possible. We also illustrate how attorneys’ time-based strategies fluctuate with the political ebb-and-flow of immigration enforcement, examining how the cultural and procedural norms of the immigration court process make it difficult for non-citizens to receive substantively just outcomes. In the article’s conclusion, we discuss our findings’ broader contribution to the argument that U.S. immigration law lacks fairness so long as it resides within the pillars of criminal justice, punishment, and exclusion.

Richard Frankel, Risk Assessment and Immigration Court, 79 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2023). This article suggests that risk assessment or algorithmic tools could be used in the context of immigration bond decisions. While risk assessment tools carry risks of racial bias, inaccuracy, and questionable transparency, the article asserts that many of these flaws already exist to the same or greater degree in the current immigration detention system. At the very least, experimentation with risk assessment could enable data gathering and study for improving the currently broken bond system. 

Natalie Nanasi, with Dr. Daniel Saunders, Dr. Tina Jiwatram-Negrón, and Dr. Iris Cardenas, Patriarchy’s Link to Intimate Partner Violence: Applications to Survivors’ Asylum Claims, Violence Against Women, SAGE, 2022. Eligibility for asylum for survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) has recently been contested. This article summarizes social science evidence to show how such survivors generally meet asylum criteria. Studies consistently show a relationship between patriarchal factors and IPV, thereby establishing a key asylum criterion that women are being persecuted because of their status as women. Empirical support is also provided for other asylum criteria, specifically: patriarchal norms contribute to state actors’ unwillingness to protect survivors and survivors’ political opinions are linked to an escalation of perpetrators’ violence. 

David B. Thronson, with Veronica T. Thronson, Immigration Issues—Representing Children Who Are Not United States Citizens, in Child Welfare Law And Practice: Representing Children, Parents And State Agencies In Abuse, Neglect And Dependency Cases (Josh Gupta-Kagan, LaShanda Taylor Adams, Melissa Cater, and Vivek Sankaran eds., 4th ed., National Association of Counsel for Children, 2022). This book chapter addresses immigration remedies for children, including Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the new regulations from 2022, VAWA, U and T status, DACA, and prosecutorial discretion. It addresses issues raised in family court during custody and adoption proceedings of children who are not U.S. citizens.

Veronica T. Thronson, Affidavits are Forever: Public Charge, Domestic Violence, and the Enforceability of Immigration Law’s Affidavit of Support, 41 Yale L. & Pol’y Rev. 69 (2022). Affidavits of support were designed for the government’s benefit. They shift responsibility from the public to individual sponsors who have agreed to take responsibility for support. While this concept is not inherently objectionable, it has been implemented in a manner that fails to account for the prevalence of domestic violence and provide any ameliorative response to those subjected to violence. Litigation to enforce these affidavits is increasingly common in both state and federal courts. This article explores the federal legislation that created and implements affidavits of support and the case law that has rigidly rejected appeals for equitable adjustments in enforcement.


Business Law

Alicia E. Plerhoples, ESG & Anti-Black Racism, 24 U. Pa. J. Bus. L. 909 (2022). This paper catalogs corporate efforts to navigate racial inequality, placing those efforts in the context of ESG—environmental, social, and governance—initiatives. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, racial equity audits were the topic of numerous shareholder proposals during the 2021 proxy season, with none being successful. Rather than allow companies to set the terms of their own racial equity initiatives, I argue that the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission should step into the role of regulator of ESG accounting and auditing firms to oversee and regulate the quality, ethics, integrity, and independence of ESG audits, including racial equity audits.


Civil Rights

Jabeen Adawi, Changing Every Wrong Door into the Right One: Reforming Legal Services Intake to Empower Clients, 29 Geo. J. on Poverty L. and Pol’y 361 (2022). It’s recognized that people affected by poverty often have numerous overlapping legal needs and despite the proliferation of legal services, they are unable to receive full assistance. This paper argues that the process to find an attorney is unintentionally riddled with invisible barriers that more closely resemble red-tape bureaucracy than the client empowerment that poverty law desires. I highlight four flaws in how legal service intakes are implemented. I examine the consequences of these flaws in the context of client empowerment. I argue that the combination of these barriers in one process actually disempower clients and prevent them from accessing the services they need. Finally, I highlight one solution: a collaborative intake and triage model that was piloted in Washington, D.C. to service crime victims. I explore how this model addresses some of these barriers and how it may be a blueprint for much-needed legal services delivery reform.

Madalyn K. Wasilczuk, The Racialized Violence of Police Canine Force, 111 Geo. L. J. ___ (forthcoming 2023). This Article argues that canine policing descends from United States settler colonialism, chattel slavery, and militarism and lays out how courts have interpreted the Fourth Amendment to give police dogs as weapons too long a leash.


Clinical Education and Legal Education

Claudia Angelos, with Mary Lu Bilek and Joan Howarth, The Deborah Jones Merritt Center for the Advancement of Justice, 82 Ohio St. L.J. 211 (2022). In this article we engage in and invite a radical reimagination of legal education. Our vision is grounded in community, social justice, antiracism, and the lived experiences of students. We reject divisions among teachers of doctrine, theory, and practice and embrace the participation of community social justice lawyers. Doctrine is taught in problem-based modules. From the beginning students engage in clinical work in law school and community partner practices with increasing responsibility for clients. We imagine a law school in which there is no longer a subcategory of clinical professor because there is no longer anything else.

Jeffrey R. Baker, The Community Justice Clinic at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, 17 Cal. Legal Hist. 7 (2022). This article is a contribution to the California Legal History journal in its volume devoted to law school clinics in California. The journal invited articles to commemorate the progress of innovative experiential and clinical education in California law schools. This article shares the story and work of the Community Justice Clinic in context of the longer history of the legal clinics at Pepperdine Caruso Law, including brief histories of each clinic at the law school.

Andrew C. Budzinski, Clinics, the Cloud, and Protecting Client Data in the Age of Remote Lawyering, Clinical L. Rev. 1 (2023). Clinic supervisors have an ethical obligation to understand how legal technology works, how it can facilitate client representation, and the risks it poses to the confidentiality of clients’ electronically-stored data. This article outlines the potential ethical pitfalls relating to client data in law school clinics, raises ways that clinics may be falling short of their ethical obligations, and outlines the practical steps needed to come into compliance.

Julia Hernandez, with Tarek Z. Ismail, Radical Early Defense Against Family Policing, 132 Yale L.J. 659 (2022). What possibilities arise when law-school clinics experiment in challenging a well-oiled system at its untouched margins, within a collective, community-based movement whose lodestar is abolition? This Essay examines this question in the family-policing context and articulates a radical vision of family defense in subjudicial venues.

Ascanio Piomelli, Toward A Broader Vision of Lawyering - Community Group Advocacy & Social-Change Lawyering Clinic, 17 Cal. Legal Hist. 179 (2022). Discussion of UC Hastings (now UC Law SF) Community Group Advocacy & Social-Change Lawyering Clinic in issue on "Legal History in the Making: Innovative Experiential Learning Programs in California Law Schools." Explores student take-aways from course on rebellious/democratic/movement lawyering.


Criminal Justice

Jeffrey R. Baker, Legal Foundations for the Business of Incarceration, in The Business of Incarceration: Theological and Ethical Reflections on the Prison-Industrial Complex (Justin Bronson Barringer, Sarah Farmer, James McCarty, eds., Cascade, forthcoming 2023). This is a draft of a chapter in the forthcoming book, The Business of Incarceration: Theological and Ethical Reflections on the Prison-Industrial Complex. This chapter will be one of three in a larger section, Theological and Ethical Foundations, that will frame issues of mass incarceration and the prison-industrial complex in the United States. This is a descriptive chapter to explain and explore the laws and legal systems in which mass incarceration and the business of incarceration exist.

Amber Baylor, Unexceptional Protest, 70 UCLA L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2023). Anti-protest legislation is billed as applying only in the extreme circumstances of mass-movements and large-scale civil disobedience. Mass protest exceptionalism provides justification for passage of anti-protest laws in states otherwise hesitant to expand public order criminal regulation. Examples include a Virginia bill that heightens penalties for a “failure to disperse following a law officer’s order”; a Tennessee law directing criminal penalties for “blocking traffic”; a bill in New York criminalizing “incitement to riot by nonresidents.” These laws might be better described as anti-protest expansions of public order legislation. This Article examines the construction of mass protest law exceptionalism and advocates for using resistance frameworks, such as joyful protest, to better understand the burdens and consequences borne by communities. This analysis incorporates text of recent mass anti-protest legislation, proponents’ arguments in media, and debate in legislative sessions. This framing exposes the lack of exceptionalism, surfaces the thin line between mass protest and everyday public order regulation in targeted communities, and demonstrates the high stakes of ignoring this blurred line when considering mass anti-protest criminal laws.

Jill C. Engle, Sexual Violence, Intangible Harm, and the Promise of Transformative Remedies, 79 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1045 (2022). This Article describes alternative remedies that survivors of sexual violence can access inside and outside the legal system. It describes the leading restorative justice approaches and recommends one of the newest and most innovative of those—“transformative justice”—to heal the intangible harms of sexual violence. The Article also discusses the intersectional effects of sexual violence on women of color and their communities. It explains the importance of transformative justice’s intersectional approach to redress sexual violence. Transformative justice offers community-based, victim-centric methods that cultivate deep, lasting healing for sexual violence survivors and their communities, with genuine accountability for those who have caused harm. Although transformative justice has developed outside the legal system, its principles and methods are targeted toward the unique, often intangible harms experienced by sexual violence survivors. Therefore, transformative justice remedies should be available alongside and inside the legal system so survivors, their impacted communities, and those who cause harm can benefit from them.

Vida Johnson, White Supremacy’s Police Siege on the United States Capitol, 87 Brook. L. Rev. 557 (2022). On January 6, 2021, law enforcement failed the people and the institutions it was supposed to protect. This article explores how white supremacy and far-right extremism in policing contributed to the insurrection at the Capitol. Police officers enabled the siege of the Capitol, participated in the attack, and failed to take seriously the threat posed by white supremacists and other far-right groups. The debacle is emblematic of the myriad problems in law enforcement that people of color, scholars, and those in the defund and abolitionist movements have been warning about for years. Police complicity in the attack on the Capitol has shown that the infiltration of police departments by white supremacists and far-right extremists has made the country less safe. This article illustrates how these problems in policing, exposed on January 6, harm people of color, and proposes solutions to reform policing in the United States.

Eleanor Morales, with John Brooker, Restoring Faith in Military Justice, 55 Conn. L. Rev. 77 (2022). The military justice system was designed to maintain good order and discipline, strengthen national security, and achieve justice. After military leaders failed to effectively address the sexual assault crisis within the armed forces, Congress lost faith in this system and in response, enacted sweeping legislative reform. While Congress’s reforms change who makes the decisions in many cases, they will have little effect unless military leaders also broaden the underlying criteria upon which their recommendations and decisions are made. This Article proposes an innovative framework to assist military leaders in implementing a holistic approach to decision-making.

Anna VanCleave, The Myth of Heightened Standards in Capital Cases, ___ U. Ill. L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2023). This article examines courts’ application of the mandate of “heightened standards” in capital cases and the disconnect between the language used by courts and the substance of the legal analyses. This review shows that (1) courts routinely use the language of “heightened” standards while applying the same legal tests that are used in non-capital cases; and (2) some courts use the “heightened reliability” requirement to justify lesser procedural protections than those applied in noncapital cases.

Madalyn K. Wasilczuk, Developing Police, 70 Buff. L. Rev. 271 (2022). This article argues that the minimum age for police officer hiring should be increased due to emerging adult officers' developmental capacities.

Madalyn K. Wasilczuk, For Their Own Good: Girls, Sexuality, and State Violence in the Name of Safety, 59 Cal. W. L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2023). This article applies a critical lens to status offenses as raced and gendered exercises of state violence best understood as interwoven with the history of civilly committing and incarcerating women for promiscuity and other deviations from social norms.

Madalyn K. Wasilczuk, South Carolina Deaths Behind Bars, (Incarceration Transparency)  (2023). A report documenting deaths in carceral facilities in South Carolina.


Disability & Health Law

Genevieve Mann, It’s Not OK, Boomer: Preventing Financial Power-of-Attorney Abuse of Elders, 82 Md L. Rev. 181 (forthcoming 2023). This Article posits that the rise in elder financial exploitation due to power-of-attorney abuse demands a more robust and creative framework. The federal legislative response has been anemic; despite passage of the Elder Justice Act, which established a collaborative approach to protective services, the mandate has remained woefully underfunded. To prevent elder financial exploitation, a multi-disciplinary infrastructure should be bolstered with necessary oversight and protection measures. In particular, the model should be enhanced with agent supervision and a centralized power-of-attorney registry to increase detection and prevention, while not overburdening agents or elders. It is no longer adequate to allow unregulated power-of-attorney use while a growing number of elders remain at risk.

Medha D. Makhlouf, Charity Care for All: State Efforts to Ensure Equitable Access to Financial Assistance for Noncitizen Patients, 23 Houston J. Health L. & Pol’y ___ (forthcoming 2023). Non-profit hospitals have long been required to provide certain benefits to the community in which they reside in order to maintain tax-exempt status. The nature of these community benefits has evolved since the mid-twentieth century, but “charity care”—free or discounted care for patients who are unable to pay for it—is the quintessential hospital community benefit. Although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) extended eligibility for subsidized health coverage to many more people living in the United States, some noncitizens—including those without a valid immigration status—were excluded. This Article explores the development of prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of immigration status in hospital charity care programs in certain states and the relative inaction by the majority of the states and the federal government. When non-profit hospitals exclude patients from charity care on the basis of immigration status, they contribute to health care inequity among noncitizens—the population in the United States least likely to have access to health care. These actions contravene the longstanding tradition of non-profit, tax-exempt hospitals providing benefits to the community of people living in the geographic areas from which the hospitals draw their patients. Congress, state legislatures, and hospitals themselves are in a position to prohibit discrimination in charity care programs; failure to act further entrenches the exclusion of noncitizens from the threadbare health care “safety net” and perpetuates inequity in access to health care for noncitizens.

Medha D. Makhlouf, Gendered Effects of U.S. Pandemic Border Policy on Migrants from Central America, in Routledge Gender Companion to Gender And COVID-19 (Linda C. McClain & Aziza Ahmed eds., forthcoming 2023). The journeys of women and girl migrants traveling over land to the United States are made more precarious because of their gender. They are more vulnerable than men and boys to many risks, among them sexual violence, sex trafficking, and labor trafficking. At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States in March 2020, public health authorities invoked an obscure statute to virtually halt asylum processing at its southern border, a policy known as “Title 42.” Hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers have been expelled under this policy and now face longer journeys and new challenges. Title 42 purports to address a global public health issue but exacerbates another: violence against migrant women and girls from the Global South, primarily Central America. It is an example of how public health policy can reinforce preexisting advantage and disadvantage, compounding negative consequences for subordinated groups. 

Medha D. Makhlouf, Interagency Dynamics in Matters of Health and Immigration, 103 B.U. L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2023). When Congress delegates authority to an executive agency, it tells us something important about the expertise that Congress wishes to harness in policymaking on an issue. In the legal literature on interagency dynamics and cooperation, issues at the nexus of health and immigration are largely understudied. This Article extends that literature by examining how delegations of authority on issues at the intersection of health and immigration influence policymaking. In an analysis of how administrative law models apply to three topics in the shared regulatory space of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), I demonstrate that health-related expertise is frequently marginalized rather than leveraged. Specifically, health policy expertise and priorities are subordinated to an administration’s immigration policy preferences, contravening Congress’s purpose in establishing related or overlapping jurisdictional assignments to HHS and DHS. Administrative law theories of shared regulatory space inadequately account for the predictable subordination of certain policy areas to others—as illustrated in the Article’s case studies on issues at the intersection of health and immigration. The routine capitulation of health policy actors to immigration enforcement actors reveals a need to extend the theory to accommodate this evidence. Although structural solutions may address some sources of health policy marginalization, effective dissemination of health-related expertise in matters of health and immigration may require changing the way that political leaders prioritize health issues and broadening their perspectives on the collateral consequences of immigration enforcement.

Medha D. Makhlouf, Stemming the Shadow Pandemic: Integrating Sociolegal Services in Contact Tracing and Beyond, __ J.L. Med. & Ethics __ (forthcoming 2023). The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the challenges of complying with public health guidance to isolate or quarantine without access to adequate income, housing, food, and other resources. When people cannot safely isolate or quarantine during an outbreak of infectious disease, a critical public health strategy fails. This article proposes integrating sociolegal needs screening and services into contact tracing as a way to mitigate public health harms and pandemic-related health inequities.

Medha D. Makhlouf, Towards Racial Justice: The Role of Medical-Legal Partnerships, 50 J.L. Med. & Ethics 117 (2022). Medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) integrate knowledge and practices from law and health care in pursuit of health equity. However, the MLP movement has not reached its full potential to address racial health inequities, in part because its original framing was not explicitly race conscious. This article aims to stimulate discussion of the role of MLPs in racial justice. It calls for MLPs to name racism as a social determinant of health and to examine how racism may operate in the field. This work sets the stage for the next step: operationalizing racial justice in the MLP model, research, and practice.

Medha D. Makhlouf, with Patrick J. Glen, Immigration Reforms as Health Policy, 15 St. Louis U. J. Health L. & Pol’y 275 (2022). The 2020 election, uniting control of the political branches in the Democratic party, opened up a realistic possibility of immigration reform. Reform of the immigration system is long overdue, but in pursuing such reform, Congress should cast a broad net and recognize the health policies embedded in immigration laws. Some immigration laws undermine health policies designed to improve individual and population health. For example, immigration inadmissibility and deportability laws that chill noncitizens from enrolling in health-promoting public benefits contribute to health inequities in immigrant communities that spill over into the broader population—a fact highlighted by the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions on noncitizen eligibility for Medicaid and other public benefits contribute to inequitable access to health care. Moreover, visa restrictions for noncitizen health care professionals run counter to health policies promoting access to health care during a time of severe shortages in the health care professional workforce. It is time that health policy be incorporated into the immigration-reform debate, with Congress considering whether and how such reforms are helping to achieve health policy goals relating to improving individual and population health.


Domestic Violence

Deborah Epstein, with Lisa Goodman, Informal Help-Seeking in Moments of Acute Danger: Intimate Partner Violence Survivors’ Emergency Outreach Efforts and the Forces That Shape Them, 38 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 4742 (2022). Heightened attention to police brutality has created momentum for alternative, community-based responses to violence. To help build effective alternatives, this study explored what survivors currently do when facing acute danger other than call police. We interviewed a diverse sample of IPV survivors about who they reached out to, why, outcomes, and individual, interpersonal, and psychosocial influences on the process. In the face of severe violence, participants most wanted someone who would listen without judgment.

Leigh Goodmark, Assessing the Impact of the Violence Against Women Act, 5 Annual Rev. Criminology 115 (2022). VAWA has been hailed as the federal government's signature legislation responding to gender-based violence. VAWA is primarily a funding bill and what it primarily funds is the criminal legal system. But the criminal legal response to gender-based violence has not been effective in decreasing rates of gender-based violence or deterring violence. A noncarceral VAWA could better meet the needs of victims of gender-based violence and target the underlying causes of violence.


Economic Justice

Jeffrey R. Baker, with Profs. Luz Herrera, Davida Finger, JoNel Newman, and Christine Cerniglia, Creating Blueprints for Law School Responses to Natural Disasters, The Cambridge Handbook Of Disaster Law: Risk, Recovery, And Redevelopment (Susan Kuo, John Travis Marshall, and Ryan M. Rowberry eds.) (Cambridge University Press 2022). This chapter is an adaptation of our article, In Times of Chaos: Creating Blueprints for Law School Responses to Natural Disasters, 80 Louisiana Law Review 421 (2020). This century's major disasters from Hurricane Katrina and the Fukushima nuclear meltdown to devastating Nepalese earthquakes and the recent crippling volcanic eruptions and tsunamis in Tonga have repeatedly taught that government institutions are ill-prepared for major disaster events, leaving the most vulnerable among us unprotected. These tragedies represent just the beginning of a new era of disaster – an era of floods, heatwaves, droughts, and pandemics fueled by climate change. Laws and government institutions have struggled to adapt to the scope of the challenge; old models of risk no longer apply. This Handbook provides timely guidance, taking stock of the field of disaster law and policy as it has developed since Hurricane Katrina. Experts from a wide range of academic and practical backgrounds address the root causes of disaster vulnerability and offer solutions to build more resilient communities to ensure that no one is left behind.


Education & Schools

Janel George, The Myth of Merit: The Fight of the Fairfax County School Board and the New Front of Massive Resistance, 49 Fordham Urb. L.J. 1091 (2022). This Essay analyzes recent litigation challenging racially neutral school diversity efforts at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia. As the status of diversity efforts at the higher education level are in limbo pending the outcomes of recent U.S. Supreme Court cases, litigation being waged against racially neutral diversity programs at the k-12 level is indicative of a "new front" of Massive Resistance. This new front is characterized by challenges to diversity programs backed by conservative organizations with Asian American plaintiffs challenging diversity efforts that promote access to quality education by historically marginalized Black and Latiné students. Many of these claims are predicated on the myth of "merit" undergirded by racist tropes of "underserving" Black and Latiné students. Is public education for everyone? This Essay explores the myth of merit and what the challenge against the Fairfax County School Board signals about the future of access to quality public education.


Environmental Law

Seema Kakade, Environmental Enforceability, 30 NYU Envtl. L.J. 65 (2022). There are great expectations for a resurgence in federal environmental enforcement in a Biden-led federal government. Indeed, federal environmental enforcement suffered serious blows during the Trump administration, particularly at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including large cuts in the budget for enforcement and reversals of key enforcement policies. Yet, while important to repair the damage, truly strengthening federal environmental enforcement will require more. This Article highlights the need for greater attention to the multiple hurdles that plague environmental enforcement.


Family Law

Sarah Lorr, Unaccommodated: How the ADA Fails Parents, 110 Calif. L. Rev. 1315 (forthcoming). This Article assesses the treatment of ADA claims in family and federal courts since the promulgation of federal technical assistance in 2015. Despite promising federal intervention, courts fail to vindicate the rights of parents with disabilities by sidestepping responsibility for parents’ ADA claims. The Article shows how ostensibly neutral principles of federalism have the effect of preventing any forum from applying federal anti-discrimination law to parents with disabilities, harming parents in the family regulation system.

Sarah Lorr, with L. Frunel, Lived Experience and Disability Justice in the Family Regulation System, 1 Colum. J. Race L. 478 (2022). Despite the premise of equitable treatment of parents and families involved in the family regulation system, parents with disabilities are often mislabeled, mistreated, and untrusted by actors within the system. This Article explores how ableism operates in the family regulation system to create the ongoing pathology of parents who have, or perceived to have, disabilities.


Gender Justice, Women & The Law

Gillian Chadwick, Time's Up for Attorney-Client Sexual Violence, 22 U. Md. L.J. Race Relig. Gender & Class. 76 (2022). This article sheds light on the egregious issue of sexual violence by attorneys against their clients and the minimal professional discipline those attorneys face. The article argues for the need to take bold action to address attorney-client sexual violence and impose true accountability as well as survivor-centered values on the attorney discipline system. 

Julie A. Dahlstrom, The New Pornography Wars, 43 Fla. L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2023). The world’s largest online pornography conglomerate, MindGeek, has come under fire for the publishing of “rape videos,” child pornography, and nonconsensual pornography on its website, Pornhub. In response, as in the “pornography wars” of the 1970s and 1980s, lawyers and activists have turned to civil remedies and filed creative anti-trafficking lawsuits against MindGeek and third parties, like payment processing company, Visa. These lawsuits seek not only to achieve legal accountability for online sex trafficking but also to reframe a broader array of online harms as sex trafficking. This Article explores what these new trafficking lawsuits mean for the future regulation of the online pornography industry and the fight against sex trafficking. 

Leigh Goodmark, Law Enforcement Experience Report: Domestic Violence Survivors' Survey Regarding Interaction with Law Enforcement, (National Domestic Violence Hotline 2022). From March to May 2021, the National Domestic Violence Hotline surveyed callers on their experiences with law enforcement. The report demonstrates the ambivalence many survivors feel about calling police and the desire for other options.

Leigh Goodmark, The Anti-Rape and Battered Women's Movements of the 1970s and 80s, in The Oxford Handbook of Feminism and Law in the United States (Deborah L. Brake, Martha Chamallas & Verna Williams, eds., forthcoming 2023). The anti-rape and battered women’s movements of the 1970s and 1980s grew out of the women’s liberation movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Some anti-violence pushed for greater state intervention via the criminal legal system, but the movement was not united in embracing such strategies. Feminist organizing reflected the tensions between competing visions of the role of the state in addressing gender-based violence, visions shaped by race, class, and professional status.

Natalie Nanasi, New Approaches to Disarming Domestic Abusers, 67 Vill. L. Rev. 561 (2022). Failure to enforce laws prohibiting perpetrators of intimate partner violence from possessing firearms has led to deadly consequences. Criminal justice-based efforts to disarm domestic abusers have yielded minimal success. This Article, drawing from the fields of public health, international human rights, and anti-carceral feminism, explores alternative approaches. It analyzes these theoretical areas to draw out commonalities— including a move away from carceral approaches, a focus on prevention, and an emphasis on community-based solutions—that can inform efforts to remove guns from the hands of domestic violence offenders.


Human Rights

Jeffrey R. Baker, A Sermon on the Law: The Jurisprudence of Love, 15 Wash. U. Jur. Rev. ___ (forthcoming 2023). This essay, in the form of a sermon to lawyers and lawmakers, articulates a liberating, progressive, theological jurisprudence of love. This jurisprudence seeks the empowerment of all people and advances a strong policy preference for the poor and disenfranchised. Rooted in scripture, this critical rule measures law and policy in the United States against fundamental human dignity. This is an ancient, radical message for contemporary law and policy.

Lauren E. Bartlett, Human Rights and Lawyer's Oaths, 36 Geo. J. Legal Ethics ___ (forthcoming 2023). Each lawyer in the United States must take an oath to be licensed to practice law. The first time a lawyer takes this oath is usually a momentous occasion in their career, marked by ceremony and celebration. Yet, many lawyer’s oaths today are unremarkable and irrelevant to modern law practice at best, and at worst, inappropriate, discriminatory, and obsolete. Drawing on a fifty-state survey of lawyer’s oaths in the United States, this article argues that it is past time to update lawyer’s oaths in the United States and suggests drawing on human rights to make lawyer’s oaths more accessible and impactful.

Tamar Ezer, Localizing Human Rights, 31 S. Cal. Rev. L. & SOC. Just. 68 (2022). 
Over the last two decades, cities throughout the world have espoused international human rights in various forms. This development has caught on in the United States with close to a dozen self-designated human rights cities and a vibrant “Cities for CEDAW” movement, focused on protection of women’s rights. This paper probes this growing phenomenon and argues that local human rights implementation is a critical frontier, enabling a human rights approach to governance, strengthening participation and equality. Closer to communities, human rights cities can democratize rights and move beyond the citizen construct at national level to embrace all inhabitants. Cities also provide a critical vehicle to negotiate the inherent tension between the universality of human rights and respect for cultural and regional diversity. Moreover, cities are particularly important as human rights actors in the US context, where federalism limits the reach of international treaties to address issues touching on criminal law, social welfare, and family relations, critical to women’s rights. Cities can thus play a crucial role in realizing women’s equality, addressing cultural norms, jurisdictional barriers, and disparate impacts. The paper further provides recommendations for better engagement with cities as human rights actors, currently in its infancy, at international, national, and local levels.

Anita Sinha, A Lineage of Family Separation, 87 Brook. L. Rev. 445 (2022). 

Anita Sinha, Transnational Migration Deterrence, 63 B.C. L.Rev. 1295 (2022).


International Law

Richard J Wilson, War Crimes: History, Basic Concepts, and Structures, 37 ABA Crim. Just. 3 (Fall 2022). A primer for criminal justice practitioners on war crimes.


Labor & Employment

Angela Cornell, Labor's Obstacles and Democracy's Demise, in Cambridge Handbook of Labor and Democracy, Cambridge University Press, 2022. This article denounces the barriers that workers face in the U.S. when they are trying to organize collectively. It links the declining union density rate, the lowest of rich industrialized nations, to inequality and weakening democracy. It builds on research that finds that the working class have played a supportive and often crucial role in forging and defending democracies.

Angela Cornell, Why Organized Labor is a Democratic Catalyst, National Endowment for Democracy: Democracy Digest (August 8, 2022). Blogpost about the new coedited volume.

Angela Cornell, coedited with Mark Barenberg, Cambridge Handbook of Labor and Democracy, (Cambridge University Press 2022). The chapters build on and update an extensive body of literature that explores the role of organized labor and the working class in the historical construction of democracy, examining a range of more recent cases in non-Western parts of the world. The contributors also explore the efforts of labor unions to construct novel forms of social citizenship by deepening or extending democratic practices to broader spheres of social and economic relationships. The volume breaks new ground in the analysis of recent patterns of democratic erosion, examining its relationship to the political weakening of organized labor and, in several cases, the political alliances forged by workers in contexts of nationalist or populist political mobilization.


Race & Law, Critical Race Theory

Danielle Pelfrey Duryea, with Peggy Maisel, Un-Erasing Race in a Medical-Legal Partnership: Antiracist Health Justice Advocacy by Design, 70 Wash. U. J. L. & Pol'y 1 (2023).

June 27, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 23, 2023

2023 CLEA Student Awards for Clinics and Externships: Kentucky's Rachael Beller and Annie Dietz

The Clinical Legal Education Association invited law schools to nominate students as their Outstanding Clinic Student or Team and Outstanding Externship student. This series includes submissions from law schools celebrating their outstanding students. 

From the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law: 

Outstanding Clinic Student - Rachael Beller

Rachael Beller, a Fall 2023 Civil Litigation clinic student, is UK Law’s choice for Outstanding Clinic Student for 2023! Rachael exemplifies what we hope for in a stellar clinic student. While she began with very little prior public interest experience, she worked hard and put her all into each case assigned to her. Dedicating herself to every client and issue, she grew in both her confidence and her skills. She cared enough to ask questions and to prep for those questions as well as their answers. Rachael also supported her clinical colleagues and encouraged them at every step of their learning journeys. Her caretaking extended to the transfer of her cases, with clinic students in the following semester commenting on the quality and organized nature of her work. An example of a case where Rachael particularly shined was a rather tough posthumous paternity case on behalf of a single mother residing in a rehabilitation facility. She handled the situation with tact and care, making our young client feel safe and respected. Though the case continued into the Spring, her detailed research and writing led directly to a positive outcome and the court granting our paternity motion without a DNA test. Rachael will be a wonderful and zealous attorney advocate and is already a fabulous colleague. It was a pleasure to have her in the clinic and we are thrilled for the opportunity to celebrate her!


Outstanding Externship Student – Annie Dietz

We enthusiastically nominate Annie Deitz for the CLEA Outstanding Externship Student Award for her participation in the Kentucky Refugee Ministries’ Externship during the Fall 2022 semester. As a KRM extern, Annie stood out because of her thoughtful and diligent approach to the work she was assigned.  In just one semester, she made an undeniable impact on the lives of KRM’s clients. Annie conducted extensive research on legal issues impacting asylum seekers from Honduras and Ukraine. Her research was essential for the clients and informed their decisions about how to proceed with their cases. She also prepared applications for citizenship for former refugees and for citizenship certificates for refugee youth whose parents had previously naturalized. Annie’s work insured that the clients and their families will be able to stay in the United States permanently and bring their family members to join them.  Additionally, Annie reviewed and helped to revise a presentation given to newly arrived refugees during their cultural orientation.  This presentation is a crucial introduction to immigration in the United States and Annie helped to make very complicated legal material approachable for all education levels. Congratulations to Annie!

June 23, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Open Conversations: Building Culture, Developing Discourse, Nurturing Democracy

The Holloran Center Professional Identity Blog at the University of St. Thomas School of Law originally posted this piece from Prof. Tanya Asim Cooper and me


In 2015, as the Ferguson uprisings swelled in Missouri, we felt a rising tension, anxiety, anger, and discord among our law students at Pepperdine (now Pepperdine Caruso School of Law). Students had organized demonstrations for justice at the law school, and they were seeking other outlets and means to engage. Like much of the nation, they wanted to talk about it, but the law school did not have a ready forum for them to process this controversy together. Professors are often reluctant or unable to pause their regular teaching to engage in wide debates on current events, especially when they are trying to cover significant material in class. But the need persisted, and intensifying frustration created and deepened divisions within the school. 

The dean of students and diversity council conferred with each other and with students, and a student suggested regular, simple lunches and conversation for the student body on the potent questions surfacing around race and racism, policing and police violence, and our national convulsions toward justice. 

This was the provenance of our first Open Conversation. Over fifty students attended, and we set out some simple guidance. This was not a teaching moment for the faculty, and it was not a debate. It was a conversation, discourse to share perspectives, an opportunity to speak and listen, to engage across difference, to give voice to pain and anger, to explore paths forward, all from the students' perspectives and experiences. With general prompts and light moderation while breaking bread together, the conversation was rich, critical, vibrant, heartfelt, and serious. It did not fix all of the issues or resolve all the tension within our school, but it was a moment of genuine community struggling with itself but refusing to alienate each other. 

The students expressed gratitude for the time and the opportunity to speak and listen. Afterward, a member of the diversity council wrote: 

My fear going into it was that either no one would come or no one would engage in conversation. I was pleasantly surprised that my fear was unfounded. If anything, I thought the hour felt too short for the full conversation. Which I think just goes to show how necessary these open forums are and how glad I am that we are starting this. The other thing I noticed is how sad some of the comments made me. I consider myself very aware of racial tension happening across the country but to hear the struggles from some of our own students was tough.

A senior administrator reported, "We held a very intense, but positive open forum on Monday at which our students were very responsibly and respectfully engaged.  It was well attended and, in my opinion, very worthy of good lawyers discussing hard topics." 

After that first Open Conversation, we continued to offer them when controversies erupted nationally or locally, refining the approach. In time, they became so important to our community, the law school began offering them monthly during the school year. Now, they are a permanent project of the diversity council, and the law school prioritizes them with "black out" dates once per month so that there is no competition from other events during the lunch hour. And, as an essential ingredient of the experience, the law school provides great food for all comers. (Typically, it's burritos from Lily's in Malibu, the best breakfast burrito in Los Angeles County.) 

The broad objective for Open Conversations is to build a healthy culture within our law school community. It is not to resolve every issue or to engage in antagonistic debate; there are plenty of other opportunities for that during law school. Rather, it is to enrich our discourse with care, respect, and dignity, even over the most contentious issues. Moderation and centrism are also not the aims; students advocate and argue in Open Conversations with conviction but within a framework that aims to hold our shared life at the heart of our discussions. In our current national season of extreme polarization, brutal partisanship, personal antagonism, and so-called "cancel culture" (all of which have been topics of our discussions), the Open Conversations are counter-cultural exercises in democratic engagement.  

To these ends, we developed a practice of lightly-moderated discussions around curated topics, over lunch with important ground rules for the conversation. We typically have fifty to sixty students and another ten staff and faculty in the room.The ground rules are "conversational harnesses" to preserve the objectives of discourse and engagement, and we share them at the top of each open conversation: 

Open Conversations are for discourse, not debate.

Listen; don't try to win. 

Share the airspace equitably; speak only when you have the mic.

Be respectful; address ideas, not people. 

Speak from your own experience and perspective; do not question or attack others for theirs. 

Do not broadcast, record, or disseminate anything from the conversation on social media.

We pass a microphone around the room to ensure that one person speaks at a time (like the conch rule in the first, happier part of Lord of the Flies) and to promote accessibility and clear communication. On very rare occasions, the moderator may intervene if a student transgresses a ground rule or if the conversation turns personally confrontational. Sometimes the moderators, faculty, or staff in attendance will participate in the conversation itself, but we try to keep our comments limited to asking follow up questions, providing factual or historical context, or identifying constructive threads running through the students' contributions.  

After everyone gets their food and we have explained the ground rules, we introduce the topic for the day with a few general prompts to get the conversation started. We take real care in selecting topics; the diversity council meets monthly, usually the week before the Open Conversation, to consider the hot topics of the day. We do not necessarily pick topics that are divisive on partisan lines, but we pick topics that are immediately controversial, critically interesting, or universal to the law student experience. Among many others over eight years, topics have included school shootings and the Second Amendment; #MeToo and the Kavanaugh hearings; human rights at the Olympics; impeachments and January 6; faith in the law; the Dobbs decision and reproductive justice; "Cancel culture" and free speech in the academy; Trump Indictments and the Tennessee 3; the nature of justice; police violence and procedural reform; and family conversations at Thanksgiving (which has been hilarious).

Good food is a critical element for the success of Open Conversations. We almost always hold them during the lunch hour, and it is a specific discipline to eat together while discussing hard, divisive topics. Across all cultures, breaking bread together, especially with adversaries, is a mark of intentional hospitality and peacemaking. During the pandemic, we saw our various student groups polarizing before our eyes as they launched invectives at each other online while otherwise alienated from each other. But we have seen constructive engagement, even healing, across our school culture when the community eats together while looking at each other directly to talk about intense controversies. 

People talking together over a meal is not novel or revolutionary, but it is ancient and radical. Of course, we've had mixed results. Some conversations are vibrant, energetic, critical, and creative. Some are chilled and reticent; some veer into personal confrontation. Our hope is that merely holding Open Conversations and attempting the exercise signals the values and aspirations of our community. We aim to contribute to a robust, generous, vital culture of engagement within the law school, and we hope that this models the best kind of culture possible in our diverse communities. If our students can experience the work of hard conversations together with constructive advocacy and critical, benevolent disagreement, we hope it will equip them for this work as public citizens in their careers.

May 31, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

2023 CLEA Student Awards for Clinics and Externships: UDC David A. Clarke School of Law's Genesis Aguirre Guerra, Kenya Whitaker, Andrea de la Torre, and Beth Brodsky

The Clinical Legal Education Association invited law schools to nominate students as their Outstanding Clinic Student or Team and Outstanding Externship student. This series includes submissions from law schools celebrating their outstanding students. 

In May 2023, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law presented the following awards to our graduating students at our Hooding Ceremony.

The CLEA Outstanding Externship Student Award for demonstrating excellence in externship fieldwork and thoughtful, self reflective participation in the externship seminar was presented to Genesis Aguirre Guerra.  Genesis’ own immigration experience inspired Genesis Aguirre Guerra to pursue public interest law. She participated in both the General Practice and Immigration and Human Rights Clinics, was a summer fellow with Yale Law’s Workers and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic and the UCLA Center for Immigration Law and Policy, and externed with the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition. Through this externship, Genesis researched alternatives to appearing before an immigration judge for bond release and traveled to Pennsylvania to assist a detained client. She used her trauma-informed skills to assist a mother and her children who escaped partner physical violence. She also served as a Law Review editor and President of the Latinx Law Student Association.  Post-graduation, Claudia will be an Immigrant Justice Fellow, through Immigrant Justice Corps, with the CAIR Detained Adults Coalition.

The CLEA Outstanding Clinic Student Award for excellence in clinic fieldwork and thoughtful, self-reflective participation in the Clinical Program was presented to Kenya Whitaker. Kenya displayed excellence in both the Community Development Law Clinic and the Criminal Law Clinic, including participating in extended clinic. She was a leader in the Community Development Law Clinic and an exceptional research assistant for the professor. In the Criminal Law Clinic, Kenya Whitaker zealously advocated for a client facing charges in D.C. Superior Court and a severely ill, elderly man petitioning for parole after decades in prison. Kenya displayed compassionate leadership in her advocacy and in clinic seminar. She also delivered powerful testimony, based on extensive research and using persuasive and creative arguments, to the Maryland General Assembly regarding access to medical parole. Kenya embodies all the qualities of an exceptional defender – she is hardworking, intelligent, passionate, creative, detail-oriented, and client-centered. Kenya reflects on her work thoughtfully and honestly and takes advantage of trainings to improve her advocacy skills. Post-graduation, Kenya will be a Policy Fellow working at the DC Justice Lab.

UDC Law also presented a UDC Outstanding Clinic Team Award for excellence and thoughtful reflective while working collaboratively in contributing to the clinical community at the law school, legal community, or broader community.  This year’s winners are Andrea de la Torre and Beth Brodsky. As evening students, Andrea de la Torre and Beth Brodsky demonstrated exceptional teamwork in the Tax Clinic, each contributing over 425 hours of clinic work in their Fall semester. Their work involved hours of research and communication with the IRS and other relevant agencies regarding a complex tax matter. The team diligently pursued all remedies for their client, engaging in creative and zealous advocacy. Beth and Andrea also presented an engaging and thought-provoking presentation at a DC library on how to apply for DC Homestead tax credits and DC Homeowner and Renter tax credits. With this presentation, DC residents better understand how to reduce their income tax using DC tax credits.   


UDC Law is proud of each of our 2023 graduates.  All students graduating from our day program completed at least two seven-credit clinics and our evening students completed at least one ten-credit clinic to graduate. Through our clinics, our students are equipped to Practice Law, Promote Justice, and Change Lives! 

May 16, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 15, 2023

2023 CLEA Student Awards for Clinics and Externships: UC Law SF's Jess McPeake and Adriana Diaz Mireles, Jonathan Escobar Valencia and Ana Sofia Mello

The Clinical Legal Education Association invited law schools to nominate students as their Outstanding Clinic Student or Team and Outstanding Externship student. This series includes submissions from law schools celebrating their outstanding students. 

Outstanding Externship Student Award: Jess McPeake from UC College of the Law San Francisco (UC Law SF; formerly UC Hastings)

Jess McPeake excelled in multiple externships during law school. At their criminal justice reform nonprofit placement, Jess worked diligently to advance the organization's innovative approach to resentencing and displayed an exceptional willingness to receive feedback, actively seeking it out to further improve their abilities. At the placement and in the legal externship seminar, Jess' thought-provoking questions and ideas made valuable contributions. Their honest and open communication style enriched class discussions, encouraging their classmates to actively participate.

Jess also stood out for their profound contributions to the Haiti Justice Partnership human rights course. During spring break, they interviewed a Cuban family fleeing political persecution stranded in Tijuana, Mexico, quickly building rapport and mobilizing efforts; this family is now safely in the U.S. seeking asylum because of Jess. In addition, they coordinated a group of students collaborating with our partner law school in rural Haiti to document deteriorating conditions at the local prison there. Through it all, they have faced challenges with grace, leading with compassion, humor, and intelligence and inspiring others to do the same.

Jess’ engagement in the Criminal Practice Clinic demonstrated a deep recognition of and respect for the humanity of every client, a willingness to go the extra mile in their representation, and impressive acumen to further that representation. Jess’ reflections on their experience were replete with powerful insights on justice and compassion, as well as the role attorneys should play in championing both.

Overall, Jess’ contributions to each of the programs represented in this award were stellar!

Outstanding Clinic Student Team Award: Adriana Diaz Mireles, Jonathan Escobar Valencia and Ana Sofia Mello, Refugee and Human Rights Clinic (RHRC), UC Law, San Francisco (UCLSF)

Adriana, Jonathan and Ana Sofia participated in the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic (RHRC) in the Fall of 2022. The RHRC works in collaboration with the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) of UCLSF, which provides support to attorneys and law clinics across the country who represent asylum seekers.

There has been growing recognition that a major driver of forced migration is climate change. However, asylum claims based on climate change face barriers and there is the need to document country conditions and develop innovative legal theories to overcome these barriers. CGRS is at the forefront of these efforts, which will include fact-finding trips to key refugee-sending countries. The RHRC Clinic team took on the challenging task of carrying out the first of these fact-finding visits, selecting Honduras as the country to visit.

The team prepared for their fact-finding by doing intensive research on the history, politics and legal system of Honduras. They read and digested Honduran laws in Spanish on climate change, the environment, the protection of forests, wildlands and water, as well as the very controversial laws permitting open pit mining.

After analyzing the laws, identifying the government bodies charged with enforcement, and the NGOs fighting for climate and environmental justice, Adrian, Jonathan and Ana Sofia prioritized and prepared for the in-country interviews with these sources. Their in-country performance was outstanding; they returned with invaluable information, including the identification of key experts willing to testify in support of asylum claims – resources which will be shared with attorneys and clinics throughout the U.S.

May 15, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)