Racial Equity Strategies Clinic

Conducted in conjunction with Howard University School of Law

LW.12455 / LW.12456
Professor Raymond Audain
Open to 2L and 3L students
Maximum of 12 students
Spring semester
5 credits*
Pre-requisites/Co-requisites: Civil Procedure and Constitutional Law


The Racial Equity Strategies Clinic is a semester-long, five-credit course that focuses on the legal strategies employed by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) to achieve racial equity and justice in its four principal areas: education, economic justice, voting rights and democratic governance, and policing and criminal justice reform. The Clinic involves a mixture of fieldwork; oral advocacy; legal research and writing; and weekly seminars on the various strategies used to achieve educational equity and racial, economic, and criminal justice.

Course Description

The Racial Equity Strategies Clinic engages students in legal practice at LDF, the nation’s first and premier civil rights law organization. Students have the opportunity to study historical and contemporary strategies for achieving racial justice through litigation, policy, organizing, and communications strategies. Students also have the opportunity to conceptualize and develop new tactics to address modern challenges to racial justice issues.


Students are assigned to work with a team of LDF attorneys on an active case or matter for the semester. Students are expected to engage with clients, stakeholders, community leaders, and legislative and administrative agencies, and support litigation in the areas of racial justice in education, voting rights, economic justice, democratic governance and policing and criminal justice reform. Students also have an opportunity to present, brief, or otherwise advocate in person with the groups indicated above. Moot preparations for presentations are typically conducted in LDF’s offices. Students may travel out of state once or twice per semester (generally to states in the South or Washington, D.C.) for client meetings, community meetings, depositions, policy meetings, and/or court hearings, based on the needs of their fieldwork and status of the pandemic. Students participate in all facets of litigation and policy advocacy, including research, meetings, interviews, memo writing, document preparation, case “rounds,” and travel. Likely areas of advocacy include contributing to LDF’s continuing work on desegregation litigation and educational equity; active voting rights litigation; policy work in the area of criminal justice and policing; and litigation and policy work to address  discriminatory practices in employment, housing, and lending.


The course will be conducted through weekly seminars held at LDF’s headquarters (40 Rector Street, New York) or remotely and in fieldwork opportunities. This course will be co-taught by two LDF lawyers. The seminar will meet weekly for two hours. Readings include law review articles and other texts by scholars in the field of civil rights, education, law enforcement, political theory, voting rights, and racial justice. Each student will be expected to serve as a discussion leader once in the semester. The discussion leaders should prepare questions to frame the discussion and engage the guest speakers.

Additionally, students will have access to LDF’s archival case material (most of which is not yet available to the public). Guest lecturers include the leading thinkers, organizers and litigators in the relevant fields of practice. Using these resources, the students will analyze the various lawyering strategies used to achieve racial and economic justice, provide educational equity, ensure equitable access to the political process, and promote fair and effective policing and law enforcement. The majority of the cases and matters on which the students work are from jurisdictions in the South, however, an examination of federal and state policy will also be a component of this clinic.

Students will also participate in case rounds, simulations, and other legal practice skills trainings.

Students will be expected to produce one semester-end final project in which the students are expected to develop a proposed racial justice case based on one of LDF’s four areas of practice and to engage in a critical examination and original analysis of the legal problem that their case is seeking to address and their strategies for addressing it. This case should lay out the legal theories, jurisdiction, supporting facts, defendants, and potential plaintiff profiles. Students will also write a paper, known as a “justification memo or J-Memo”, of at least 5,000 words, describing a case they develop.

Qualifications for Applicants

Students in the Clinic are expected to have previously taken Civil Procedure and Constitutional Law.

Application Procedure

Students should submit an application, resume and transcript on-line via CAMS. There will be no interview.

Student Contacts

Interested students should speak to the following Spring '22 clinic students:

Rochelle Ballantyne
Ariel Errar
Kayla Hug
Madeline M. Leibin
Kevin P. Muench
Sarah Percoski

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