Human and Civil Rights Clinic

Who can apply? Rising 2Ls and 3Ls
Prerequisite Course(s): None
Recommended Courses: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law I, and/or Human Rights Law
Is the program year-long or semester-long? Semester-long with option to enroll as an “advanced” student in a second semester, with the professor’s approval.
How many credits? 6

The Human and Civil Rights Clinic advocates on behalf of clients and communities fighting for the realization of the civil and human rights guarantees promised by the United States Constitution and International Human Rights treaties. Students in the clinic will work in the context of federal and state litigation, advocate before international human rights tribunals, and utilize these mechanisms to support movements for social change. Cases include a range of matters, including police brutality, racial justice, mass incarceration and unconstitutional prison conditions, and other concerns that implicate core constitutional and human rights.  Students will also have the opportunity to work with the Thurgood Marshall Center, collaborating with community groups struggling to realize the vision of the burgeoning black lives matter movement, going beyond litigation to explore alternative modes of advocacy.

Students work with faculty in classroom-seminar and clinical-practice settings to review the trial court records, prepare memoranda, consult with clients, research and write the briefs, memoranda, and human rights reports, and prepare and conduct oral argument and testimony when applicable. The pedagogical goal of the Clinic is for students and faculty to critically examine the analytical and linguistic challenges of effective advocacy, the legal and strategic considerations of lawyering in support of social movements in the civil and human rights context, the ethical and professional obligations of client representation, and the social and political implications of advocacy for civil and human rights.

Students are also strongly encouraged to complete a course in Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law I, and/or Human Rights Law prior to the semester in which the student will be enrolled in the HCRC. Applying for the HCRC requires submission of a legal writing sample, timely completion of an application for enrollment in the HCRC and, if necessary, an interview and approval for enrollment by the faculty of the HCRC.

Students accepted into and who enroll in the Human and Rights Clinic program for Fall 2018 may be required to obtain student bar licenses issued by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals or other court. If so, Professor Hansford will give you a date that your application is due. CLC will then obtain the Dean’s certification and submit the applications to the appropriate office.