Global Justice Clinic - for JDs

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


The Global Justice Clinic explores how human rights law can be brought to bear on situations of global injustice, and whether, how, and when human rights work can be rights-based. Working on cases and projects that involve cross-border human rights violations, the deleterious impacts of extraterritorial activities 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 advocacy in domestic and international settings.

Course Description

Fieldwork consists of projects and/or cases 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 assist in formulating policy, research, and legal responses to complex human rights problems.

The seminar critically examines human rights movements and campaigns, and emphasizes practical skills, including litigating human rights claims in domestic and international forums; investigating, documenting, and publicizing human rights violations; advocating before United Nations, regional, and national human rights bodies. Throughout their work, students engage questions of ethical, political and professional accountability 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:

  • Prepare country mission materials, expert reports, petitions, complaints, and shadow reports for international and regional human rights bodies, including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the African Commission on Human Rights, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Human Rights Committee, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Water and Sanitation;
  • Litigate in U.S. and international forums on behalf of individuals seeking redress for their rendition, enforced disappearance and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment;
  • 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 to promote free speech and assembly rights;
  • Investigate, research, document and report on human rights concerns, such as those raised by the use of drones, using traditional and cutting-edge human rights methodologies;
  • Engage in dialogue with corporate actors to promote accountability for alleged corporate abuses;
  • Enhance the capacity of community-based organizations to incorporate human rights methodology and law into their preventive advocacy efforts in relation to mining in poor countries; and
  • Document and report on violations of social and economic rights in poor and disaster-affected countries and seek accountability of international actors for their interventions in such situations.

Qualifications for Applicants

A course in International Law or its equivalent is a prerequisite. 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). Students will be expected to devote two full days (approximately 16 hours) 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. 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 Diana Limongi for an interview.

Students who enroll in the Global Justice Clinic as 2Ls may have the opportunity to join the Advanced Global Justice Clinic in their 3L year, for either one or two semesters (for four credits per semester). There is no formal application process for the Advanced Global Justice Clinic. Those students will be contacted about the application process in the Spring.

For further application instructions, or if you have any questions, please contact Diana Limongi.

Student Contacts

Students interested in the Clinic may want to speak to students from the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 Global Justice Clinic.

Fall 2014
Rita Astoor
Etienne Chenier-Lafleche
Ashley Fernandez
Aaron Kates Rose
Quyen Le
Sienna Merope-Synge
Hanna Miller
Chelsea Plyler
Vivake Prasad
Nina Sheth
Patricia Shnell
Allison Wilson
Spring 2015
Erika Asgeirsson
Nicky Block
Christopher Boyd
Astrid Caporali
Sima Kazmir
Tiffany Lin
Shane Meckler
Danielle Muniz
Meredith Riley
Peter Speelman
John Washington
Alexandra Zetes

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