The Clinic’s mission is to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline in New York City by filling a critical gap in quality representation for low-income families whose students face exclusion from school.
In this education law clinic, law students will provide legal representation to low-income students facing suspensions from New York City public schools and help safeguard their right to an education. Clients will contact the Clinic directly. Cases may also be referred to the ELC from the New York Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights firms.
Students in the Clinic will essentially run a small law firm. They will develop fundamental case management and client-representation skills, and oral advocacy and lawyering skills—including arguing before a judge and working with co-counsel from a case’s inception to its conclusion. Working in two-person teams, law students will interview clients and their parents; interpret local, state and federal law; gather evidence including witness statements, client intakes, and character references; develop a theory of the case; and conduct direct and cross examinations at the hearing. Where appropriate, students will continue to advocate for their clients following a suspension hearing—such as with re-entry into the school community or providing assistance for students with special education needs. In addition, ELC students may have limited opportunities to write suspension appeals and work with the Criminal Defense Clinic on cases that involve an arrest. The Clinic will require representing clients at hearings during the day.
Links and Logistics
Credits: Full Year 8; Fall: 2 Seminar/2 Fieldwork; Spring: 2 Seminar/2 Fieldwork
Instructor: Adjunct Professor Samantha Pownall
To Apply to this clinic, please visit the OCEL Application Information Page