Happy 2009! We here
at 203 enjoyed our long winter break and now we're back reading files,
admitting students, and writing blog posts.
I'm going to start the year by addressing a subject about which I
receive a lot of questions when I'm out recruiting: clinical programs.
For those of you not familiar with clinics, let me
explain. Clinics are courses in which
you, as a student, have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience by working
on legal casework and representing clients.
Clinics generally fall into two categories: simulations and live-client clinics.
In a simulation you're essentially "going through the
motions." You either work on made-up
cases constructed by clinical faculty or on real cases that have
concluded. You write briefs, file
motions, and appear in "court" for clients who never existed or have already
received assistance. At many law schools
this is the experience to which you will be limited in your first and second
In the other type of clinic, the live-client clinic, you're
working with real clients on real, on-going legal cases. This includes meeting with your clients,
filing motions in real courts, and representing clients before actual judges
and magistrates. You are the attorney
for your client.
At Yale Law School, all of our 20+ clinics are
live-client. You can start working in a
clinic in the spring of your first year, an option relatively unique to YLS. That means you can begin representing clients
in court your 1L year, with lots of guidance from 2Ls, 3Ls, and the clinical faculty,
of course. YLS clinics aren't an
extracurricular activity; you receive course credit for them. While YLS does not have a clinical course requirement,
over 80% of our students will take at least one clinic before graduating.
Shortly before the winter break, leaders of the various clinics
held a fair in the Dining Hall to talk with students interested in finding out
more information about particular clinics.
This was the first formal opportunity for 1Ls to investigate their clinic
options for the coming term.
Below you will find a list of the clinical opportunities at
YLS this spring. Further information can
be found by clicking on a clinic title or by visiting www.law.yale.edu/clinics.
ADVOCACY FOR CHILDREN & YOUTH
The Sol and Lillian Goldman Family, Advocacy for Children and Youth (ACY) clinic represents
children and youth in abuse, neglect, and, on occasion, termination of parental
rights cases and related matters.
Our abuse and neglect cases may involve allegations of
sexual, physical and/or mental abuse as well as allegations of educational,
nutritional and/or emotional deprivation. While representing children in these
cases, we explore our dual role, as a lawyer and guardian ad litem for the
child, and the representational needs of this child in particular. In the
course of our work, we have encountered issues of poverty, domestic violence,
mental health, drug dependency and HIV.
Case assignments provide students with considerable
interaction with clients, their families, and local service providers,
opportunities to appear in the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters and in
administrative meetings at the Department of Children and Families, and may
provide occasions to interact with professionals from various disciplines such
as psychiatry, medicine and social work. While representing clients, students
will have opportunities to become familiar with the inner workings of the
Department of Children and Families and potentially other social service
agencies in New Haven.
BALANCING CIVIL LIBERTIES AND NATIONAL SECURITY AFTER
The Civil Liberties and National Security Clinic, also known
as the National Litigation Project, is a hybrid between clinic and seminar. We
meet twice a week, once to work in small groups on a case to which we are
assigned, and once as a full group to discuss broader theoretical and strategic
issues arising out of those cases and the policies the government has adopted
in the wake of September 11. We also try to bring in several speakers to our
seminar sessions-for example, a practitioner arguing an important appellate
matter and a community activist-whose work involves "war on terror"
issues from a different perspective or in a different forum than the Clinic's
own work. The Clinic represents parties and amici in cases at the intersection
of human rights and national security. The cases touch upon a range of
issues such as prolonged arbitrary detention of citizens and non-citizens,
extraordinary rendition and torture, discriminatory immigration enforcement,
government secrecy, habeas corpus and fair trial rights at Guantánamo, and
other international human rights matters related to national security. For
instance, we have filed briefs in Rasul v. Bush, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld,Hamdan v.
Rumsfeld, Padilla v. Rumsfeld, Padilla v. Hanft, and Boumediene v. Bush. Not
only, however, are we involved at the appellate level, but we also represent a
number of Guantánamo detainees, both in habeas proceedings and before the
military commissions, as well as persons formerly detained in the United States
in damages actions. Depending on the case, students enrolled in the Clinic will
directly participate in litigation strategy, research novel points of law and
procedure, draft briefs or other court documents, handle arguments and court
appearances, take discovery, and engage in numerous other forms of creative
advocacy on behalf of their clients.
COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
/ COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
The Community & Economic Development / Community
Development Financial Institutions Clinic (CED-CDFI), the most
interdisciplinary law school clinic in the country, provides students with
opportunities to get involved in community and economic development in New
Haven and the surrounding region. The goal of this clinic is to address the
needs of underserved communities through non-litigation, community building
projects. Through the course of the semester, students will work as
legal, policy, and strategy advisors, as well as business consultants, to a
host of clients.
The clinic offers students a chance to work in
regulatory, transactional, business and strategic capacities, learning about
the law, business, and operations of community organizations, nonprofits,
banks, local government, and small businesses. Projects may expose
students to: formation and governance of for profit and not-for-profit
entities (primarily nonstock corporations and LLCs); strategic planning
and decision-making, negotiating and drafting contracts; developing employment
and other policies; structuring real estate transactions; assessing the
financial feasibility of proposed projects; tax planning for nonprofit and
for-profit entities; securing funding from federal, state, local, and private
sources; resolving zoning and environmental issues; and negotiating the local
politics involved in siting low-income housing and other business and nonprofit
activities. Students may gain client contact, memo preparation skills,
regulatory agency contact, administrative agency contact, and negotiation
skills, as well as banking, finance, and business exposure.
The classroom component of the clinic focuses on issues of
poverty alleviation and economic development. Attention is paid to both the
particular community development needs of New Haven and to the role of
community development finance in a broader context. In spring 2009, class
topics will include affordable housing, history of New Haven, mortgage
foreclosure crisis, banking law, financial services, social entrepreneurship,
microfinance, and urban planning and redevelopment. Through class discussions,
we explore larger policy questions of what is community development, what are
key barriers to economic development, and the efficacy of various policy
interventions in the field. Woven throughout these classes, we will examine the
varied roles we play in these community and economic development processes and the
ethical implications of our work. The clinic also regularly invites guest speakers,
including state and federal officials, city and community leaders, policy
experts, and noted academics.
CRIMINAL DEFENSE PROJECT
This clinical offering will allow students the opportunity
to participate in the defense of serious felony cases, with training and
fieldwork supervision provided by clinical faculty and experienced trial
attorneys from the New Haven Judicial District Public Defenders office.
Students will receive skills training which will address topics such as the
right to counsel and client interviews, pretrial investigation and discovery,
motions practice, crime scene and physical evidence viewing, working with
forensic experts, trial/hearing preparation, jury selection, witness
examination, framing a defense theory of the case, confronting the
prosecution's evidence, presenting the defense's evidence, and presenting
closing argument. Cases will be selected in an attempt to provide
students with a broad exposure to defense practice as well as a meaningful opportunity
to participate in a litigation event.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CLINIC
The Domestic Violence Clinic offers students the opportunity
to combine direct legal representation of survivors of domestic violence with
community outreach and education. Students provide comprehensive legal
services to clients in a variety of civil matters including, but not limited
to, immigration, family law, public benefits, and housing law cases.
Students conduct outreach at community-based organizations and provide
trainings and know your rights presentations to community groups and agencies.
The coursework examines the legal, social, and policy issues involved in
domestic violence lawyering. The clinic focuses on serving immigrant and
low-income women. Students should expect to appear in court.
EDUCATION ADEQUACY PROJECT
The Education Adequacy Project is devoted to representing
clients who wish to improve the quality of educational opportunities being
provided to children in Connecticut. Currently, the bulk of the project's work
stems from a class action lawsuit that was filed against the State of
Connecticut in November of 2005. In the lawsuit, parents and children allege
that the State is failing to fulfill its state constitutional duty to provide
"suitable and substantially equal educational opportunities." As the
plaintiffs' primary lawyers, students in the Project are involved in all
aspects of the ongoing litigation. As such, the Project provides students with
an opportunity to take part in major class action litigation that will shape
the future of perhaps the most important domestic human rights issue of our
time: the right of a child to receive a suitable educational opportunity
regardless of the child's wealth or place of birth. The clinic has arguments in
front of the Connecticut Supreme Court on this question in March, 2008.
Students in the Project spend the majority of their time
working on the litigation, developing or preparing case strategies, briefs,
memos, motions, and evidence. Students also work on advancing and defending the
vision outside the courts, through work with state politicians and community
leaders. The Education Adequacy Project meets on a weekly basis, reviewing the
progress of the litigation and discussing the substantive, strategic, and
theoretical issues involved. Students participate in smaller group work
sessions and in meetings with both individual and corporate clients. Students
spend the bulk of their time on briefs, memos, and other litigation
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION CLINIC
The Yale Environmental Protection Clinic is designed to
introduce students to the fields of environmental advocacy and policy-making by
exploring a variety of environmental law and policy questions and the tools
environmental professionals use to address them. While the Clinic supplements
students' hands-on experience with seminars on environmental law and policy,
the core of the program is the work students do for their clients: teams of
three to four students work with client organizations on "real-world"
projects, with the goal of producing a major work product for the client by the
end of the semester.
IMMIGRATION LEGAL SERVICES
The Immigration Legal Services Clinic primarily represents
clients seeking asylum and withholding of removal in the United States. Our
clients come from more than twenty different countries in all regions of the
world-including, but not limited to Africa, South Asia, Europe, and Latin
America. Most of our clients are refugees, who fear that they will be
persecuted on the basis of their race, nationality, religion, political
opinion, or membership in a particular social group if they return to their
countries of nationality. We assist our clients with the preparation of their
applications for asylum, prepare clients for interviews with asylum officers,
and present client cases in an administrative Immigration Court. We also
represent clients who are appealing orders for removal and denials of asylum
before the Board of Immigration Appeals, and we currently have cases pending in
the Second Circuit. Additionally, we assist our clients in dealing with other immigration
or legal matters that can arise in conjunction with their immigration
proceedings or after a grant of political asylum-for example, helping clients
obtain visas to allow their family members to join them in this country.
Students have close contact with their assigned clients. This clinic involves
a great deal of client-interaction, sometimes through translators. Students in
the Immigration Legal Services Clinic prepare client and witness affidavits to
tell their clients' stories, as well as briefs and extensive exhibits
containing legal arguments and detailing the political, economic, and social
conditions in the countries our clients have fled. In addition, some students have the opportunity
to conduct oral examination and present oral argument before judges in
administrative trial proceedings. Students whose cases include appellate work
may also have the chance to present oral arguments before the Second Circuit.
LANDLORD TENANT LEGAL SERVICES
Students in the Landlord/Tenant Clinic ("LLT")
provide legal assistance and representation to indigent tenants facing
eviction. Their work is based primarily
on the Connecticut Summary Process Statute (Conn. Gen. Stat.§ 47a-23 et seq.),
which governs eviction actions in the state.
The LLT clinic provides an excellent opportunity to manage
litigation and develop lawyering, mediation, and negotiating skills.
Participating students investigate their own cases and also write all briefs,
memoranda, and correspondence relating to their cases. They will also argue
motions, handle mediation sessions, and negotiate settlements directly with
opposing counsel. They may also conduct trials for their clients in Connecticut
state court or engage in limited legislative advocacy, defending tenants' rights
in the Connecticut legislative process.
Legal Assistance is a clinical seminar that uses the
classroom, direct client counseling and representation, and simulation
experiences to provide students a glimpse into the daily workings of a legal
aid practice and to provide them with invaluable practical legal skills.
Students will work directly with attorneys at New Haven Legal Assistance in the
areas of Family Law, Criminal Defense, Benefits, Housing, and Immigration. New
Haven Legal Assistance is one of the few legal aid programs in the country
which provides criminal defense representation, and a very limited number of
students may have the opportunity to do criminal defense work in state court,
depending upon the resources available in the criminal unit. The clinic
provides substantial opportunities to interact with individual clients.
LEGAL SERVICES FOR IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES
Legal Services for Immigrant Communities fuses traditional
civil legal services representation with collaborative, community-based
strategies for solving community problems and empowering clients. Our
clinic provides a broad range of legal services to one of the largest immigrant
communities in New Haven: the Spanish-speaking Latin American and Caribbean
community. We conduct outreach through Junta for Progressive Action, a
nonprofit community organization in Fair Haven. We offer students the
opportunity to represent immigrant clients in a wide range of cases, including (but
not limited to) immigration law, employment law, benefits, family law, mortgage
foreclosures, landlord-tenant law, and consumer fraud.
The Legislative Advocacy is designed to give
students an opportunity to participate in the
state legislative process by advancing - and defending - the policy
initiatives of a Connecticut public interest organization that works on
behalf of children and, where possible, other LSO clinics. In the future, the clinic may work on behalf of
additional public interest organizations.
Although the particular policy issues we tackle change from
year to year, issues covered in recent years have included public education
(particularly No Child Left Behind); criminal & juvenile justice reform;
Medicaid and indigent health care issues (including universal healthcare,
prenatal care, ERISA & health insurance pooling); legal representation of
foster children; and tax reform. The Legislative Advocacy clinic's
work includes both affirmative legislative initiatives and defensive
efforts to respond to proposed legislation deemed inimical to the interests of
its clients. The clinic also serves as a legislative liaison for
other LSO clinics, keeping them informed of legislative developments
affecting their clients' interests. Issues of ethics and professional
responsibility for lawyers working in the legislative arena will be
an important focus.
LGBT LITIGATION PROJECT
LGBT Rights are at the cutting edge of civil rights work
today. The LGBT Litigation Project has done important work for organizations
like the ACLU, Lambda Legal, Amnesty International, and the National Center for
Lesbian Rights. Our research has involved Proposition 8, LGBT youth in school,
the rights of transgender prisoners, employment discrimination, and family
LOWENSTEIN INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS CLINIC
The Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic
has three main goals: to provide students with the opportunity to gain
practical experience that reflects the range of activities in which lawyers
engage to promote respect for human rights; to help students build the basic
knowledge and skills necessary to be effective human rights lawyers and
advocates; and to contribute to current efforts to protect human rights through
valuable, high-quality assistance to appropriate organizations and individual
clients. Through work on projects and classroom discussion, the Clinic
encourages students to examine and develop sensitivity to critical issues
affecting the promotion of human rights and to integrate the theory and
practice of human rights law. Recent work has included human rights litigation
in U.S. courts; preparing amicus briefs on international and comparative law
for domestic, regional and international tribunals and adjudicative bodies;
providing nongovernmental organizations with legal and factual research and
strategic advice; and investigating and drafting reports on human rights
NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS CLINIC
This clinical workshop will serve the needs of nonprofit
organizations that cannot afford to retain private counsel, nascent and
established, that require help in the process of organization and
incorporation, in obtaining tax exemption, and solving ongoing legal problems.
The class will meet as a group five or six times during the term. Professional
responsibility/legal ethics credit is available to students attending two
two-hour Clinic ethics sessions and enrolled in the Clinic for two (or more)
units of credit.
PRISON LEGAL SERVICES
For more than three decades, students in Prison Legal
Services have provided legal assistance to inmates in state and federal prisons
in Connecticut. During the spring term, the clinic will focus primarily on
state cases challenging the conditions of confinement.
Weekly class sessions
will focus on the procedural and substantive law issues that occur generally in
conditions cases, as well as issues specific to our clients' cases.
Participants in Prison Legal
Services develop their analytical, research and writing abilities (as well as
professional responsibility) through their client work, which includes
interviewing, counseling and drafting of pleadings. Client interviewing
provides an opportunity for students to develop an understanding of the breadth
and variety of the Connecticut prison system, as well as the opportunity to
gain perspective on inmates' daily realities. This clinic will benefit from collaboration with
forensics fellows from the Law and Psychiatry program.
The Prosecution Externship places students in part-time,
school-year internships with local prosecutors' offices - the United States
Attorney's Offices in New Haven and Bridgeport, and the New Haven State's
Attorney's Office. There is also a seminar component to the externship;
students meet with a federal prosecutor one evening per week, meet with the
professionals with whom prosecutors work (FBI agents, judges, parole officers,
etc.) and visit local law enforcement facilities. Through the externship,
students play an integral role in the prosecution of criminal cases, and are
frequently given the opportunity to appear in court.
SAN FRANCISCO AFFIRMATIVE LITIGATION PROJECT
The San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project pairs YLS
students with the attorneys of the Affirmative Litigation Task Force at the San
Francisco City Attorney's Office. Students break into small groups to
work on all stages of an affirmative lawsuit: brainstorming ways to use
litigation to improve the lives of California residents, building and
researching a case, and the litigation itself. Topics have included litigation
against unfair terms in arbitration, payday lenders that offered installment
loans with astronomical interest rates, and the state of California for denying
Medi-Cal coverage to incarcerated youths in the custody of public institutions
and post-release. Other groups work on such varied issues as
pharmaceutical ethics, reproductive rights, human trafficking, predatory
lending and credit practices, and the environment.
SUPREME COURT ADVOCACY CLINIC
Now in its third year, the Supreme Court Advocacy
Clinic has brought half a dozen merits cases before the Court covering
constitutional, criminal, administrative, immigration, and civil rights law and
has participated in a number of cases as amici curiae. The clinic combines
hands-on clinical work with seminar discussion of Supreme Court decision making
and advocacy. It begins with several sessions analyzing the Court as an
institution, focusing on the practicalities of how the Court makes its
decisions and how lawyers present their cases. Thereafter students work on a
variety of actual cases before the Court, preparing petitions for certiorari,
merits briefs, and amicus briefs. Students work with Yale faculty and some of
the country's most experienced Supreme Court practitioners. Students have
the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to watch the clinic's supervising
attorneys present oral argument to the Court.
WORKER & IMMIGRANT RIGHTS ADVOCACY
Students in the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy
Clinic (WIRAC) represent immigrants, low-wage workers, and their organizations
in labor, immigration, criminal justice, civil rights, and other matters. The clinic docket includes cases at all
stages of legal proceedings in Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration
Appeals, U.S. District Court, the Second Circuit, and before Connecticut state
agencies and courts. Its non-litigation
work includes the representation of grassroots organizations, labor unions, and
other groups in regulatory and legislative reform efforts, media advocacy,
strategic planning, and other matters.