The Civil Rights Clinic operates as a public interest law firm, representing individual clients and other public interest organizations, primarily in the areas of discrimination and constitutional rights, workplace fairness, and open government. Beginning in the Fall of 2016, the section expanded its work into the area of voting rights. Students interview clients, develop case theories, draft and file complaints in state and federal courts, conduct discovery, engage in motions practice, and prepare appeals. Students also file FOIA requests and analyze responsive documents, and work in coalition with other public interest organizations to develop impact cases.
Number of Participants:
8 students per semester
Second semester 2Ls and all 3Ls (at least 40 credits)
Average Time Commitment:
42 hours per week
Recent projects include:
- Litigating a complex federal Freedom of Information Act suit against the Department of Defense and the CIA on behalf of researchers seeking records on “enhanced interrogation” used in the War on Terror;
- Litigating wage theft claims against private entities and government contractors on behalf of employees denied fair wages or overtime;
- Litigating retaliation claims on behalf of employees terminated for asserting their rights under FLSA and DC Wage and Hour law;
- Litigating on behalf of an individual improperly assessed a deficiency under Maryland consumer protection statutes;
- Litigating on behalf of an individual whose employer improperly denied her the lactation breaks she was entitled to under state and federal law;
- Litigating on behalf of an individual whose employer improperly denied her disability and pregnancy accommodations, discriminated against her on account of her national origin, and illegally assessed fees against her in connection with her resignation;
- Filing amicus briefs in four appellate cases –two pending before the United States Supreme Court, one in the DC Circuit, and one in the New York Court of Appeals;
- Filing FOIA requests and using the responsive documents to prepare reports exposing government misconduct;· Preparing and arguing two appeals in federal court, one in the DC Circuit and one in the Fifth Circuit; and
- On behalf of a public interest organization, analyzing potential APA claims related to the recall of exploding airbags and other automobile defects.