Education Advocacy Clinic

LW.12400 / LW.12401
Professor Randi Levine
Professor Matthew Lenaghan
Open to 2L and 3L students
Maximum of 8 students*
Spring semester
5 credits** or 14 credits*** (Pro Bono Scholars Program for 3Ls)
No prerequisites


The Education Advocacy Clinic represents public school students in education cases. Students who are interested in the Education Advocacy Clinic may apply to the 5-credit, semester-long clinic or may apply to the 14-credit Pro Bono Scholars Program-Education Advocacy Clinic.

Course Description


Students from low-income backgrounds often face barriers to receiving a high-quality education in New York City public schools. There are laws to protect the educational rights of certain populations of students, including students with disabilities, English Language Learners, and students experiencing homelessness, but many of these children do not receive the services and supports they need to succeed in school.

Clinic students work on education cases with a focus on special education cases. In these cases, law students work closely with families from low-income backgrounds to help their public school students get supports and services to address their educational and behavioral needs. Students will participate in various stages of the representation process including intake, investigation, settlement negotiations, advocacy at school-based meetings, and possible participation in mediation or hearings. Clinic students will also work on education policy initiatives focused on the needs of students most at risk of academic failure. Fieldwork will likely be done at Advocates for Children of New York.


The seminar focuses on New York City’s education system, including the laws and procedures governing special education and school discipline. The seminar also addresses the cases students are handling; trial skills; issues relating to race, class, and disability in education; and efforts to create systemic change for public school students.

Pro Bono Scholars Program Education Advocacy Clinic

The Pro Bono Scholars Program (PBSP) was created under special rules of the New York Court of Appeals to allow law students to take the New York 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 legal work through the law school for credit. Through the Pro Bono Scholars Program-Education Advocacy Clinic, students can participate in this program in partnership with the Education Advocacy Clinic. After law students take the Bar Exam in February of 2025, their entire course load in the Spring semester (end of February 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 fieldwork at Advocates for Children and seminar.

The Pro Bono Scholars Program is open to 3Ls who will complete all other coursework required for graduation prior to the Spring semester, be in good academic standing, and be in compliance with law school, New York State and ABA requirements for graduation. Prior to applying, students should review the Overall Caps and Non-Classroom Credit Caps in the JD Program Requirements.

Students must take the New York Bar Exam in February 2025. (In extraordinary circumstances, students may not be required to take the New York Bar Exam but require the permission of Professor Andrew Friedman.) States other than New York rarely, if ever, allow pre-graduation bar exam taking or early admission; students hoping to take other state bar exams pre-graduation (in addition to the New York Bar Exam) and/or to seek early bar admission are responsible for determining whether the state in question makes allowance for such choice.

For more information about the Pro Bono Scholars Program, please review the Pro Bono Scholars Program Externship description.

Application Procedure

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. If you have questions about the clinic, you can direct them to Randi Levine or Matthew Lenaghan.

Student Contacts

Students who are interested in learning more about the clinic may wish to speak with the following students who are participating in the Education Advocacy Clinic during the spring of 2024:

Education Advocacy Clinic
Anthony Aguirre
Samantha Gould
Angélica Joa
Aster O’Leary
Giulia Piccininni
Ian Riley

Pro Bono Scholars Program – Education Advocacy Clinic
Mary McNicholas
Liam Riley

* 8 students is the combined maximum for the Education Advocacy Clinic and the Education Advocacy Clinic - Pro Bono Scholars Program.

** 5 credits include 3 clinical credits and 2 academic seminar credits.

*** 14 credits include 11 clinical credits and 3 academic seminar credits. Students may not take more than one of the 14-credit, semester-long clinics Education Sector Policy and Consulting Clinic (LW.12446 / LW.12447) and the Pro Bono Scholars Program Clinic-Education Advocacy (LW.12518 / LW.12401).