Deborah Archer to lead NYU Law Clinical and Advocacy Programs

Professor of Clinical Law Deborah Archer will become the new director of NYU Law’s renowned Clinical and Advocacy Programs in January 2023, when Vice Dean Randy Hertz, who has led the programs since 2002, steps down from that role. Archer will also become Associate Dean for Experiential Education and Clinical Program when she takes on the directorship.

Deborah Archer portrait
Deborah Archer

“From its inception, our clinical program has served as a model emulated at law schools around the country,” says Dean Troy McKenzie ’00. “Under Randy’s leadership, our clinical offerings have continuously evolved, expanding in number, moving into new practice areas, and incorporating innovative pedagogical approaches to experiential learning. Deborah, whose own clinical work and scholarship have been trailblazing, is the perfect person to maintain and advance NYU Law’s premier position in this area.”

Archer is a leading expert in civil rights, civil liberties, and racial justice. In addition to teaching the Civil Rights Clinic, she is co-faculty director of the Law School’s Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law and co-director of the Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program. She also serves as president of the American Civil Liberties Union. An award-winning teacher and legal scholar whose articles have appeared in leading law reviews, Archer has offered commentary for numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, The Atlantic, Politico, National Public Radio, CBS, and MSNBC.

“It’s wonderful for NYU Law, its clinical program, and our students and faculty, that Deborah will assume the leadership of the program,” says Hertz, Fiorello LaGuardia Professor of Clinical Law. “As is readily apparent to anyone who has had the pleasure of working with her, she is an incredibly gifted teacher, lawyer, and scholar. She is also a phenomenally effective program director and leader, as is clearly evident in her work as the president of the ACLU; co-director of the Law School’s Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law; and a host of other programs she has headed. I look forward to seeing the exciting new directions the clinical program will take under her inspirational leadership!”

“Helping our students develop the complex skills needed to advance justice, defend the rule of law, and increase the accessibility of high-quality legal services that are responsive to the needs of individuals, communities, and organizations have always been central to the mission of NYU Law,” says Archer. “Clinical programs are an essential part of that work, which is as important now as it has been at any time in our school’s history. I am proud of the work we do, the students we teach, and the communities we serve, and, in taking on this important role, am honored to build on Randy Hertz’s legacy of leadership.”

NYU Law’s clinical program, housed in the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Clinical Law Center, was pioneered in 1981 by Anthony Amsterdam, now University Professor Emeritus. It includes the year-long Lawyering Program for first-year students, as well as simulation courses and more than 40 fieldwork clinics and externships. Students learn how to navigate the client-counsel relationship, test legal strategies, and see firsthand how the legal system works, gaining the tools, experience and insight to discover in themselves how to advocate for their clients. More than 500 NYU Law students enroll in clinics and externships each year.

A generous gift from the Wilf Family Foundations during NYU Law’s recently concluded Lead the Way campaign has endowed the directorship of the Law School’s clinical program. The position’s new title will be announced at a future date.

Posted September 13, 2022