LGBT Rights Clinic
LW.11130 / LW.11483
No prerequisites or co-requisites.
The LGBT Rights Clinic will be offered in Spring 2014. The clinic is open to a maximum of 8 students. The clinic will combine fieldwork at local non-profit organizations with a weekly seminar on cutting edge legal issues that LGBT people face.
The clinic and seminar will be taught by adjunct professor Victoria Neilson, who is the legal director of Immigration Equality, one of the host fieldwork organizations for clinic students.
Students placed with Immigration Equality will represent LGBT asylum seekers and work on policy/advocacy issues on behalf of LGBT immigrants and their U.S. partners. Current clinic students are also placed with The Sylvia Rivera Law Project, working on legal issues that affect low-income transgender individuals, such as conditions of confinement; employment discrimination; and/or obtaining the appropriate gender marker on identity documents. Additionally, students are currently placed with the Peter Cicchino Youth Project of the Urban Justice Center working on issues relating to foster care; legal name changes; and/or immigration law.
Before the next clinic, we will evaluate whether these placements will remain the same or whether different organizations that work with LGBT clients will partner with the Clinic. In addition to these fieldwork placements, each clinic student will attend at least one legal clinic held at the LGBT Community Center by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Law Association of Greater New York (LeGaL) of New York. The LeGal clinics round out the students’ experiences and expose them to a variety of legal issues faced by the LGBT community, in addition to the area in which the student specializes for the semester.
The seminar meets once a week and explores the leading legal issues that LGBT people face, but with an emphasis on the relationship of these issues to clinical issues. We will discuss DOMA, marriage, other forms of couples’ recognition and why these issues have become central to the LGBT rights movement. The seminar will also cover issues unique to transgender individuals, such as access to necessary medical care, detention issues, and where transgender rights fit within the LGBT rubric. We will also have classes that relate to the substantive areas of the clinical placements, including: immigration law, discrimination law, and housing law. Materials and exercises on important practice concepts and skills will fill out the remaining seminar curriculum for the semester. These will be chosen based upon what is needed to prepare students to function professionally on fieldwork assignments. Students will be expected to participate actively in class and make occasional presentations on readings and/or fieldwork, as well as writing several short papers.
The seminar course credits will be 2 credits for the seminar, which meets weekly for 2 hours, and 3 credits for fieldwork for a total of 5 credits. The seminar meets Wednesdays from 6-8 pm. The LeGal clinics meet on Tuesdays from 6-8 pm.
Interested students should submit an application, resume and grade transcript through CAMS. Applicants should sign up in CAMS for an interview. If you have any questions about the clinic, please contact Professor Victoria Neilson.
* 5 credits consists of 2 credits for the seminar and 3 credits for fieldwork.