Education Law Clinic


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.

The Clinic

In this education law clinic, law students will provide holistic legal representation to low-income students and help safeguard their right to an education. Clients will contact the Clinic directly. Cases may also be referred to the Education Law Clinic from the New York Civil Liberties Union, Advocates for Children 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. Students will represent clients in superintendent suspension hearings, suspension appeals, school transfer requests and special education advocacy cases.   

Superintendent suspension hearings are like a condensed trial where law students will develop a theory of the case and draft direct and cross examination questions, closing arguments and disposition arguments.  Working in two-person teams, law students will interview clients and their parents; interpret local, state and federal law; and gather evidence including witness statements, client intakes, and character references.  

In addition, clinic students may have limited opportunities to contribute to citywide school justice advocacy campaigns and work with the Criminal Defense Clinic on cases that involve an arrest.  

The Clinic will require representing clients at hearings or advocacy meetings during the day. Students should expect to spend a minimum of 16 hours per week on the course.  

Recommended for the following Professional Pathways: General Practice – Litigation/Dispute Resolution; General Practice – Civil Rights/Civil Liberties; Criminal Defense; Criminal Prosecution; Family Law; Government/Public Sector; Special Education 


Links and Logistics

Instructor: Visiting Associate Professor Samantha Pownall
Fall: 4 Credits; Spring: 4 Credits (Full Year Course) 

Course Description
This course is approved for the Experiential Learning Requirement.
Enrollment is limited. Registration is binding.
To Apply to this clinic, please visit the OCEL Application Information Page