LW.10679 / LW.11210
Professor Margaret Satterthwaite
Open to LLM students
Maximum of 2-3 LLM students
Spring semester
7 credits*
Pre-Requisite: International Law or equivalent, plus students must enroll in Prof. Satterthwaite’s Human Rights Advocacy Seminar in the Fall semester. (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;
  • Enhance the capacity of community-based organizations to incorporate human rights methodology and law into their advocacy.

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. 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. In addition, LLM students chosen to enroll in the GJC in the Spring semester are required to enroll in Professor Satterthwaite’s Human Rights Advocacy Seminar during the Fall semester.

Credit Structure and Time Commitment Expected

The clinic’s seminar plus fieldwork components are to be taken together for a combined total of 7 credits. 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. 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.

The Global Justice Clinic accepts applications for a limited number of spaces for LL.M. students in the spring semester only. Students should carefully consider the impact of the clinic on their other academic choices during their LL.M. year. The application period for LL.M.s is May 19-31, 2017. There is a separate application form for LL.M. students. Please use that form and submit it along with a resume and unofficial transcript to CAMS. Selected LL.M. students will be contacted for interviews in June 2017 as part of the selection process.

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 LLM students from the Fall 2016 Global Justice Clinic: Lauren Flanagan, Denise Grosman, Ayako Hatano, Claudia Henfry, Anna Klein, Beatriz Mayans Hermida, Alma Santa Ana Vara, Joana Tavares Nabuco, and Ikechukwu Uzoma.

* 3 clinical credits and 4 academic seminar credits are awarded for the semester.