Chief Judge Lippman and the New York Court of Appeals have created a new option (called the “Pro Bono Scholars Program” (PBSP)) that will allow law students to take the Bar Exam in February of their 3L year if they commit to spending the last semester of law school working full-time on pro bono work through the law school for credit. For more information about PBSP, see http://www.nycourts.gov/attorneys/probonoscholars/ProBono-Scholars-Program-Guide-2014.pdf
In the coming academic year (2014-15), NYU will implement the new PBSP option by creating a new 14-credit, one semester clinic, entitled the “Education Advocacy Clinic,” in which students will handle school suspension cases of the sort that are currently handled by our student organization, the Suspension Representation Project (SRP). In these cases, law students will represent low-income public school students in New York City Department of Education superintendent suspension hearings (presided over by Department of Education hearing officers) and will also handle administrative appeals of adverse rulings at a school superintendent’s suspension hearing. The clinic will afford opportunities for working with and counseling clients, investigating cases, cross-examining witnesses and presenting witnesses of one’s own at hearings, developing and presenting mitigation and other dispositional arguments, and briefing issues on appeal. Law students will also have the opportunity to advocate for support and services to help address children’s behavioral needs so they can return to school successfully. For more information about SRP and its work, see http://www.law.nyu.edu/studentorganizations/suspensionrepresentationproject
The clinic will be taught by Adjunct Professor Randi Levine, a staff attorney at Advocates for Children of New York (AFC), a public interest organization that specializes in education advocacy, including representation in suspension hearings. Adjunct Professor Levine, a 2008 graduate of our Law School, co-founded the Suspension Representation Project while she was a student here. At AFC, she has developed and led the Early Childhood Education Project; has supervised attorneys on issues relating to school discipline, charter schools, and early childhood education; and has coordinated training for new attorneys. For more information about AFC, see http://www.advocatesforchildren.org.
Other members of the Law School’s clinical faculty will be involved in various ways in the planning and implementation of the new clinic. These include Professor Martin Guggenheim (the teacher of the Family Defense Clinic), Professor Randy Hertz (the teacher of the Juvenile Defender Clinic), and Adjunct Professor Jacqueline Deane (the teacher of the Children’s Rights Clinic).
Participants in this new PBSP program will have a different configuration for their third year of law school. After concluding the Fall semester at the usual time, these students will begin studying for the Bar Exam immediately and then take the Exam on February 24 and 25, 2015. For these students, the Spring Semester will start on March 2, 2015, and will run until May 22, 2015. The students’ entire courseload in the Spring semester will consist of the 14-credit clinic. During the 12 weeks of this reconfigured Spring semester, students will be expected to work approximately 45 hours each week on their clinic fieldwork and attend a weekly seminar.
Law schools need to provide the State Board of Law Examiners with a list of PBSP participants by September 1, 2014. Accordingly, we will be selecting students for the clinic during the summer months.
If you are interested in participating in the new clinic and PBSP, please fill out the application form and submit it, together with your résumé and an unofficial school transcript, via CAMS (the Clinic Application and Matching System) no later than June 4, 2014 at 5:00 p.m.