The Community Justice Project is a 10 credit, one semester clinic that cuts across many subject matter areas and lawyering skills. Students in this clinic use multiple tactics to achieve client objectives, including litigation, nontraditional advocacy, public relations, the use of media, legislative and policy drafting and advocacy, and community organizing.
The Community Justice Project teaches students about the commitment that will sustain and energize them as advocates, the tactics that can produce success in particular cases, and the strategies that look to long-term (perhaps very long-term) success and participation in a protracted struggle for justice.
Applying to the Clinic
The Community Justice Project accepts 6-8 students per semester. Clinic registration for the 2015-2016 academic year has closed. Registration for the 2016-2017 academic year will occur in March 2016. Students will be asked to complete the online clinic application as well as supplemental questions for The Community Justice Project.
We encourage students interested in our clinic to meet with us individually to discuss their interest and the clinic experience.
Clinic students undertake direct representation of low-income individuals. These cases give students the opportunity to develop lawyering skills including interviewing and counseling, information gathering, presenting information to a tribunal, negotiation, and legal writing. Currently we are handling unemployment appeal hearings, although the subject matter of direct representation cases may change based on community need.
In direct representation cases, students:
- Represent individuals on their own, from the initial client interview to the close of the matter
- Develop an attorney-client relationship
- Prepare necessary motions and discovery
Teams of 2-4 students act as advocates for community, non-profit, educational, faith-based and other organizations and groups. Students serve as advocates, consultants, advisors, capacity-builders, strategic planners, policy analysts, and community organizers to help clients tackle complex, high priority projects across a wide variety of subject areas.
These projects challenge our traditional notions of lawyering because there is no obvious litigation or transactional strategy that will "solve" the problem. Such cases provide a platform for students to think strategically about the project of justice.
Students work on one project for the duration of the semester.
Past projects have focused on:
- Criminal justice
- Environmental law
- Prisoners’ rights
- Disability law
- Court reform
- Access to justice
- Housing law
- Immigration law
- Tax law
- International human rights
- Women's rights
...and included activities such as:
- Drafting and coordinating legislation
- Developing policy strategy and materials
- Media advocacy
- Strategic planning
- Community organizing and surveying
- Regulatory advocacy with government officials, experts, and community members
Visit our projects index for more information on past projects.