Equal Justice and Defender Clinic
|LW.11245 / LW.11427
Professor Bryan Stevenson
Professor Randy Susskind
Open to 3L and 2L students
Maximum of 16 students
Pre- or Co-Requisite: Racial Justice Law and/or Eighth Amendment Law and Litigation (see “Qualifications for Applicants” below)
The Equal Justice and Defender Clinic provides an opportunity to work on racial justice issues or to provide direct assistance to condemned prisoners on death row or children sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. The clinic will be offered to up to sixteen students as a seven credit course in the Fall Semester, in connection with either Racial Justice Law or Eighth Amendment Law and Litigation.
Clinic students doing racial justice work will study the history of racial inequality in the United States and work on projects that engage communities directly impacted by slavery, lynching, racial terror, convict leasing and Jim Crow laws. Projects will be focused on communities in the South that have experienced extreme racial violence and terror with a goal of helping communities confront these histories in a meaningful way. Students working on litigation against extreme punishments will be involved in direct assistance to death row prisoners in Alabama or children serving sentences of life imprisonment without parole.
The clinic will involve periodic travel for all students to Deep South communities for investigative work, interviewing and local research. Students will perform simulations of investigation interviews and techniques to enhance effectiveness in fieldwork.
Racial justice students will research community histories, the history of racial injustice, interview community leaders and assist the Equal Justice Initiative on community projects that relate racial history with contemporary issues that reflect present-day racial inequality.
Litigation students will work on pending cases that are currently being managed by the Equal Justice Initiative, and will spend time with condemned prisoners, conduct legal research and writing on active cases, conduct investigative work and interact with client families.
The seminar component of the course will complement the fieldwork with an intensive analysis of the legal, strategic, ethical and cultural issues which students confront in their clinical work, as well as a study of the broader political, social and institutional norms which influence the goals of clients. The seminar will stress the importance of developing skills with respect to building relationships with clients, interviewing witnesses, identifying legal issues, and developing theories of relief or change.
Qualifications for Applicants
The Equal Justice and Defender Clinic will be offered in the Fall Semester. Students must be enrolled in the relevant substantive course associated with their clinic work: Racial Justice Law or Eighth Amendment Law and Litigation. Enrollment in both substantive courses is encouraged. Students in the clinic will receive two seminar credits and five clinic credits in addition to credits obtained for the substantive courses.
Students should submit via CAMS the standard application, resume and unofficial transcript. Applicants should submit as lengthy a response to Question 4 of the standard application as they feel necessary and may ignore the 300 word limit. The clinic assistant, Noelia Rodriguez, will contact you via email to schedule an interview. If you have questions regarding the application procedure, please contact Noelia Rodriguez at (212) 998-6459 or via email.
Former clinic students currently employed by EJI can be contacted at 334-269-1803: Krystal Quinlan (‘11), Ryan Becker (’11), Claudia Flores (’11), Ben Schaefer (’11).
Former clinic students who currently are NYU School of Law students are: Aisha Dennis (’13), Elizabeth Daniel Vasquez (’13), Liz Jordan (’13), Avery McNeil (’13), Jules Torti (’13), and Emily de Leon (’13).
* 7 credits includes 5 clinical credits and 2 academic seminar credits.