Global Justice Clinic - for JDs

LW.10679 / LW.11210
Professor Margaret Satterthwaite (Fall)
Professor Katherine Gallagher (Spring)
Project Supervisors: Gabrielle Apollon, Sukti Dhital, Ellie Happel, Sienna Merope-Synge and Tyler Walton
Open to 2L and 3L students
Maximum of 8-10 JD students

Year-long course
13 credits*
Pre-Requisite: International Law or equivalent is recommended but not required. (See "Qualifications for Applicants" below)


The Global Justice Clinic engages in work to prevent, challenge, and redress rights violations related to global inequality. Recognizing that our location at a well-resourced law school in the Global North gives us unique opportunities for advocacy and accountability, we seek to build partnerships with communities, grassroots organizations, and human rights groups negatively impacted by Northern-based governments, companies, and institutions. Working on cases and projects that involve domestic and cross-border human rights violations, the deleterious impacts of conduct by state and non-state actors, and emerging problems that require close collaboration between actors at the local and international levels, students engage in human rights investigation, advocacy, and litigation in domestic and international settings. Serving as partners, legal advisers, counsel, or co-counsel, Clinic students work side-by-side with human rights activists from the United States and around the world. The Global Justice Clinic is committed to working in a rights-based manner and uses legal empowerment strategies aimed at enhancing the capacity and agency of those most directly impacted by human rights violations.

Course Description

Project Work
consists of projects undertaken in collaboration with communities, clients, human rights organizations and social movement organizations. Substantively, the work focuses on issues related to global injustice such as: Indigenous land rights and self-determination; ending the “war on terror” and addressing human rights violated through counter-terrorism efforts; efforts to combat the negative impacts of transnational corporations on rights such as the rights to water and health; human rights and the environment; and the human rights of marginalized groups. These projects give students an opportunity to find their role alongside collaborative partners in formulating policy, conducting research, using legal redress mechanisms, and strategizing legal responses to challenging human rights problems.

The seminar critically examines the human rights field, while also teaching the core skills of human rights and legal empowerment work, including fact-finding, interviewing, advocacy, litigation, and community practice. Students also address questions of ethical, political and professional responsibility related to human rights and social justice work.

Past and current projects include working with NYU’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, the Bernstein Institute for Human Rights, or with communities, organizations, and human rights bodies to:

  • Enhance the capacity of community-based organizations to use legal empowerment, participatory research, and human rights methodologies to achieve their advocacy aims;

  • Undertake fact-finding and draft expert reports, petitions, complaints, and shadow reports for international and regional human rights bodies;

  • Litigate in U.S. and international forums on behalf of individuals seeking redress for human rights violations;

  • Use open government laws, such as the Freedom of Information Act, to obtain information about rights-violating practices and develop advocacy strategies with a wide range of partners;

  • Investigate, research, document and report on human rights concerns using traditional and cutting-edge human rights methodologies;

  • Engage in advocacy aimed at shaping the actions of corporate actors and securing accountability for corporate violations; and

  • Enhance the capacity of community-based organizations to incorporate human rights methodology and law into their advocacy.

GJC projects, past and present, have addressed the following issues:

  • Preventing Violations and Advancing Rights in Communities Affected by Extractive Industries (Ghana, Guyana, Haiti)
  • Seeking Accountability for State Surveillance of Human Rights Defenders (Global)
  • Gender-based Violence and Economic and Social Rights (Haiti, Nigeria, Global)
    Right to Food (Haiti)
  • Rights to Water and Sanitation (Guyana, Haiti, Global)
  • Racial Equality and Police Violence (United States)
  • Human Rights Impacts of Tax Dodging (Switzerland, Global)
  • Protest and Assembly Rights (Haiti, United States)
  • Right of Access to Information (Haiti, Poland, Romania, United States)
  • Lethal Robotics, Drones, and Targeted Killings (Pakistan, United States)
  • Gender, National Security, and Counter-Terrorism (United Kingdom, United States, Global)
  • U.S. Rendition, Secret Detention, and Torture (Djibouti, Jordan, Tanzania, Yemen, United States, Global)
  • Legal Empowerment and Access to Justice for Asylum Seekers (United States)
  • Equality and Non-Discrimination: Advocating for the Rights of Haitian Immigrants (United States)
  • Building curriculum for jailhouse lawyers and supporting their reentry (United States)
  • Seeking accountability for state and corporate actors contributing to climate change (Global)

Qualifications for Applicants

A course in International Law or its equivalent is highly recommended. A course in International Human Rights Law is not a prerequisite for the clinic, but it is recommended. Fluency in a language in addition to English is useful; please note the languages you speak and write—and at what level—along with other qualifications in your application.

Credit Structure and Time Commitment Expected

The clinic’s seminar plus fieldwork components are to be taken together for a combined total of 13 credits (7 credits for the fall semester when the seminar meets twice per week, each session for 1 hour and 50 minutes.  In the spring, the course is 6 credits because the seminar meets once per week for 2 hours and 50 minutes). This clinic is time-intensive. Students will be expected to devote at least sixteen hours (often more) per week to their clinic fieldwork in addition to the time allotted to reading, written, and simulation assignments for the seminar. Students applying to the clinic should ensure that they are able to make such a time commitment. Projects often require student work during winter and spring breaks. We strongly recommend that students speak to prior clinic students to get a sense of the workload and requirements.

Application Procedure

Students should submit the standard application, a resume and a grade transcript via CAMS and follow the clinical program’s timeline for JD applications. Selected student applicants will be contacted by Isha Rodriguez for an interview.

For further application instructions, or if you have any questions, please contact Isha Rodriguez.

Students who have completed the Global Justice Clinic as 2Ls may be eligible to take the Advanced Global Justice as 3Ls for either the Fall or Spring semester. This will involve a 1-credit seminar and 1-2 credits of fieldwork (2 is the default). There is no formal application process for the Advanced Clinic. Eligible students will be contacted about the application process prior to the Spring enrollment period.

Student Contacts

Students interested in the Clinic may want to speak to students from the 2021-22 Global Justice Clinic.

Kat DiCaprio
Bele Edeoga
Christine Eldabh
Ursa Heidinger
Yeji Jung
Yulanda Lui
Laura Sabia
Arianna Scott
Alejandra Torres
Stephanie Williams

* 3 clinical credits and 4 academic seminar credits are awarded in the Fall; 3 clinical credits and 3 academic seminar credits are awarded in the Spring. The total for the year is 13 credits.