|LW.12400 / LW.12401
Professor Martin Guggenheim
Professor Randy Hertz
Professor Randi Levine
Open to 3L students
Maximum of 10 students
The Education Advocacy Clinic is a 14-credit, semester-long clinic that represents public school students in suspension hearings as part of the Pro Bono Scholars Program (PBSP). PBSP is a program started during the 2014-2015 school year that allows 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. After law students take the Bar Exam in February, their entire courseload in the Spring semester (March through May) will consist of this clinic. During the 12 weeks of this reconfigured semester, students will be expected to spend approximately 45 hours each week participating in the clinic’s fieldwork and seminar.
Students facing suspension from New York City public schools have the right to bring a lawyer to their suspension hearings, but the vast majority of students are unable to find representation. A disproportionate number of those suspended are low-income students of color and students with disabilities. Often, their suspensions result from a lack of appropriate school supports, which can have the effect of positioning the student, teacher, and classroom for failure.
Clinic students work on school suspension cases of the sort that are currently handled by the law school’s student organization, the Suspension Representation Project (SRP). In these cases, law students represent low-income public school students in New York City school suspension hearings and also handle administrative appeals of adverse rulings at school suspension hearings. The clinic affords 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. Clinic students also have the opportunity to advocate for support and services to help address children’s behavioral needs so they can return to school successfully. This advocacy includes participation in school-based meetings and communication with school administrators. Each law student also develops a written product, such as a comprehensive suspension appeal.
The clinic begins with an intensive training program to prepare students to engage in education advocacy full time. After the first week, class generally meets two to three times per week. The seminar focuses on New York City’s education system and the laws and procedures governing school discipline. The seminar also addresses the cases students are handling; trial skills; the constitutional implications of school discipline; the role of school discipline in the school-to-prison-pipeline; issues relating to race, class, and disability in education; and alternatives to suspension. Most seminar classes meet at Advocates for Children of New York (151 W. 30th Street in Manhattan).
Qualifications for Applicants
The clinic is open to 3Ls who will complete all other coursework required for graduation prior to Spring semester and will take the Bar Exam in February. A prior course on evidence is recommended but not required. Students are encouraged, but not required, to attend a Suspension Representation Project training and complete a suspension hearing through SRP prior to beginning the clinic.
Students should submit an application, resume and transcript on-line via CAMS. Some applicants may be contacted during the clinic application period for an interview. For questions regarding the application process, please contact Yvette Bisono at (212) 998-6177 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions about the clinic itself, you can direct them to Randi Levine.
Students who are interested in learning more about the clinic may wish to speak with the following students who are participating in the clinic beginning on March 2, 2015 after their completion of the Bar Exam:
* 14 credits include 6 clinical credits and 8 academic seminar credits. Students may not take both of the 14-credit, semester-long clinics that cover aspects of education law (Education Advocacy Clinic and Education Sector Policy and Consulting Clinic).