Community Advocacy Lab
In this clinic students represent social justice organizations using a creative and expansive range of lawyering strategies to create a more just legal system.
Each semester, Community Advocacy Lab takes on three advocacy projects. Because the work we do is timely and driven by client needs, the final projects are not decided until the start of the semester. Our work for 2019-20 will be in the areas of criminal justice reform, juvenile justice reform, fines and fees in the justice system, and civil access to justice.
Clinic students develop and advance policy campaigns, design and evaluate legal services and access to justice programs, draft legislation and provide legislative advocacy tools, and act as problem solvers, innovative researchers, and strategic planners. Through this social justice advocacy, clinic students develop expertise in finding creative solutions to legal problems, reflect on the complex social and political aspects of legal problems, and develop lawyering skills that reflect the range of strategies beyond litigation that lawyers can use to create change. In doing this work, students develop a critical understanding of the complexity of poverty, social justice, and racial justice across different areas of law.
Community Advocacy Lab students work closely with the clinic director, colleagues, clients, and community members. Students attend weekly supervision meetings with the clinic director and work with clients and colleagues during weekly office hours. Students participate in a classroom seminar that
- Addresses the theoretical and substantive bases of their work;
- Provides opportunities to reflect on ongoing client representation; and
- Provides skill development in support of client work, including interviewing, research and information gathering, policy, legislative, and strategic analysis, written and oral advocacy, collaboration, working with diverse communities, project planning and management, professional ethics, negotiation, and media advocacy skills.
- Are you interested in non-litigation strategies such as policy research, legislative advocacy, systems research and design, media advocacy, and strategic planning?
- Are you interested in many different areas of law, or a specific area that isn’t covered by other clinic offerings?
- Do you want to work on topics including criminal justice reform, juvenile justice, and civil access to justice?
- Do you want to work with nonprofit organizations and community members to find creative solutions to hard problems in New York and beyond?
- Do you want to think about the complexity of poverty, social justice, and racial justice across different areas of law?
- Then apply to Community Advocacy Lab.
In total, clinic will be an average of 21 hours per week, including seminar, clinic office hours, and client work. In Spring 2020, seminar will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30-3:30. In addition, students are required to commit to 4 hours each week of clinic office hours that fall within:
If you would like to take the clinic and cannot commit to four hours within these time slots, please note that in your application or contact Prof. Shanahan directly.
If you are interested in taking the clinic and have a particular subject matter interest or potential client organization, please note that in your application or contact Prof. Shanahan directly.
For Potential Clients and Partners
Community Advocacy Lab works closely with non-profit, advocacy, and community organizations and government agencies each semester. We are continually speaking with potential clients and partners about ways to work together. If you are interested in working with us, please contact clinic director Professor Colleen F. Shanahan for more information.