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Neighborhood Justice Clinic

Law 647A/647B
6 credit hours (4 clinical, 2 academic)
Professor Jason Parkin

Students in the Neighborhood Justice Clinic will represent individuals and grassroots organizations in both litigation and non-litigation matters related to workers’ rights and other issues affecting low-income communities in Westchester County.  During the Spring 2014 semester, clinic students will represent temporarily jobless low-wage workers whose applications for unemployment benefits have been denied.  Students will be responsible for all aspects of their clients’ cases, including interviewing clients and witnesses, developing a case theory, investigating facts and analyzing the law, and representing clients at adversarial hearings before the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board Hearing Office in White Plains.

In addition to representing individual clients at hearings, students will provide legal support to organizations that are advocating for low-income communities in Westchester County.  These projects will involve less-traditional forms of lawyering, such as engaging in legislative and policy advocacy and analysis, creating self-help materials, developing community education trainings and materials, and providing other types of legal work in support of organizations serving the community.

The weekly seminar portion of the clinic will be a practice-oriented examination of advocacy on behalf of low-income individuals and communities.  Seminar topics will include: fundamental lawyering skills (such as client interviewing and counseling, case planning, fact investigation, case theory, witness interviewing and preparation, direct and cross examination, briefwriting and affidavit drafting, and cross-cultural lawyering), ethics and professional responsibility, substantive and procedural law relevant to the clinic’s docket, and perspectives on social justice lawyering.  The seminar will include in-class exercises and full-scale simulations or moots of key lawyering tasks, as well as planning and reflection related to students’ work on their cases and projects.

Permission of the professor, based upon application and interview, is required.  There are no prerequisites, but prior or simultaneous enrollment in Professional Responsibility, Evidence, or Trial Advocacy would be helpful.  The clinic is open to students in their second, third, or fourth year of law school.