LW.10679 / LW.11210
Professor Meg Satterthwaite
Open to 2L and 3L students
Maximum of 7-8 JD students
Year-long course
14 credits*
Pre-Requisite: International Law or equivalent. (See "Qualifications for Applicants" below)


The Global Justice Clinic engages in work to prevent, challenge, and redress rights violations in situations of global inequality. Working on cases and projects that involve domestic and cross-border human rights violations, the deleterious impacts of conduct by state and non-state actors, and emerging problems that require close collaboration between actors at the local and international levels, students engage in human rights investigation, advocacy, and litigation in domestic and international settings. Serving as legal advisers, counsel, co-counsel, or advocacy partners, Clinic students work side-by-side with human rights activists from the United States and around the world. The Global Justice Clinic endeavors to carry out its work in a rights-based manner and uses methods from across the disciplines.

Course Description

Fieldwork consists of projects undertaken for or in collaboration with individual clients, human rights organizations in the United States and abroad, and intergovernmental human rights experts and bodies (including the United Nations). Fieldwork focuses on issues related to global injustice such as: economic and social rights such as the right to health and the right to water; human rights, national security, and counter-terrorism; transnational corporate accountability; human rights and the environment; and the human rights of marginalized groups. These projects give students an opportunity to find their role alongside collaborative partners in formulating policy, conducting research, and strategizing legal responses to challenging human rights problems.

The seminar critically examines the human rights field, while also teaching the core skills of human rights work, including fact-finding, interviewing, advocacy, litigation, and evaluation.  Students also address questions of ethical, political and professional responsibility related to human rights work.

Past and current projects include working with NYU’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice or with domestic and international NGOs to:

  • Undertake fact-finding and draft expert reports, petitions, complaints, and shadow reports for international and regional human rights bodies;
  • Litigate in U.S. and international forums on behalf of individuals seeking redress for human rights violations;
  • Use open government laws, such as the Freedom of Information Act, to obtain information about rights-violating practices and develop advocacy strategies with a wide range of partners;
  • Investigate, research, document and report on human rights concerns using traditional and cutting-edge human rights methodologies;
  • Engage in dialogue with corporate actors to promote accountability for alleged corporate abuses; and
  • Enhance the capacity of community-based organizations to incorporate human rights methodology and law into their advocacy efforts.

GJC projects, past and present, have addressed the following issues:

  • Preventing Violations and Advancing Rights in Communities Affected by Extractive Industries
  • Gender-based Violence and Economic and Social Rights
  • Right to Food
  • Rights to Water and Sanitation
  • Racial Equality and Police Violence
  • Human Rights Impacts of Tax Dodging
  • Protest and Assembly Rights
  • Right of Access to Information
  • Lethal Robotics, Drones, and Targeted Killings
  • Gender, National Security, and Counter-terrorism
  • U.S. Rendition, Secret Detention, and Torture

Qualifications for Applicants

A course in International Law or its equivalent is a prerequisite for the clinic. A course in International Human Rights Law is not a prerequisite for the clinic, but it is recommended. The clinic experience will be enhanced by some familiarity—either through formal study or other engagement—with international humanitarian law. Please address these issues in your application.

Credit Structure and Time Commitment Expected

The clinic’s seminar plus fieldwork components are to be taken together for a combined total of 14 credits (7 credits per semester). This clinic is time-intensive. Students will be expected to devote at least two full days (often more) per week to their clinic fieldwork in addition to the time allotted to reading, written, and simulation assignments for the seminar. Students applying to the clinic should ensure that they are able to make such a time commitment. Projects often require student work during winter and spring breaks. We strongly recommend that students speak to prior clinic students to get a sense of the workload and requirements.

Application Procedure

Students should submit the standard application, a resume and a grade transcript via CAMS. Selected student applicants will be contacted by Brianne Cuffe for an interview.

For further application instructions, or if you have any questions, please contact Brianne Cuffe.

Student Contacts

Students interested in the Clinic may want to speak to students from the 2016-17 Global Justice Clinic.

Anais Berland
Nathaniel Eisen
Sahiba Gill  
Samantha Reiser
Astha Sharma Pokharel
Tyler Walton
Suraiya Asmau Zubair Banu

* 3 clinical credits and 4 academic seminar credits are awarded each semester for a total of 14 credits.