Racial Justice Clinic
Professor Claudia Angelos
Professor Vanita Gupta
Open to 3L and 2L students
Maximum of 8 students
No prerequisites or co-requisites; Evidence is recommended.
The Racial Justice Clinic provides an opportunity for students to work on landmark, cutting edge civil rights litigation with the ACLU National’s Racial Justice Program.
The Racial Justice Program is a division of the American Civil Liberties Union, the nation’s leading advocate of constitutional and civil rights. Staff members of the program are experts in constitutional law and civil rights, specializing in education, health care, racial profiling, juvenile justice and criminal justice, and other racial justice issues. Experts in policy, advocacy, and community organizing round out the core staff of the RJP. The Racial Justice Program brings impact lawsuits in state and federal courts throughout the country; the program’s cases are designed to have a significant and wide-reaching effect on communities of color. Issues handled by the program include affirmative action, criminal justice, education, school to prison pipeline, juvenile justice, health care, and indigent defense.
Students in the Racial Justice Clinic may work on any of these matters under the supervision of Professor Vanita Gupta at the ACLU Racial Justice Program and Professor Claudia Angelos of the full-time NYU faculty. Clinic students work collaboratively with the faculty, the ACLU lawyers, and each other on the tasks that the litigation calls for, including making intake decisions, handling clients, case planning and strategy, drafting pleadings, motions, and briefs, and preparing depositions and motions argument.
This past year, the students worked on several cases and projects. They have included a challenge to conditions at a Georgia alternative school operated by a private company; representation of several students who were victims of excessive use of force by Mississippi police; representation of a man ejected off of an airline due to racial profiling; investigation and preparation of litigation challenging conditions at alternative schools in Florida and Texas; advocacy for indigent defendants in Louisiana; preparation of advocacy on lead poisoning problems in New Jersey; and advocacy to challenge anti-affirmative action ballot initiatives around the country. Much of the clinic's past work is described on the ACLU RJP's web site, http://www.aclu.org/racialjustice/index.html, which we encourage you to visit.
The fieldwork is supported by a weekly 2-hour seminar that considers the challenges that face civil rights lawyers, their adversaries, and other participants in the process. The seminar involves a simulation program in pretrial skills that provides students with an opportunity to engage in the full range of lawyering activities in the pretrial process, including client counseling, drafting, media advocacy, motions, discovery and depositions, and negotiation. It also holds discussions of the issues raised by institutional civil rights work. A third hour of seminar time is devoted to discussion of the challenges that students face in their cases, in order more effectively to advance the interests of the clinic’s clients and also so that the rich field work in which the clinic is involved becomes a basis for broader student learning.
If you are interested in applying to the Racial Justice Clinic, please submit the standard application, resume and transcript online through CAMS. Selection of students is not based on interviews; however, we ask that you come to a small group meeting of applicants and faculty so that we can have the opportunity to meet each other and so that we can answer the questions you may have. Please contact the clinic administrator, Steven Bautista, at 212-998-6448 or email@example.com after you submit your application to sign up for a time.
We suggest that students who are interested in the Clinic talk to current students; they know best about the Clinic experience. This year, the students in the Racial Justice Clinic are:
* 5 credits includes 2 clinical credits and 3 academic seminar credits.