Civil Rights Clinic

Civil Rights Clinic

Civil Rights Clinic

Students work on cases that have potential to provide real and concrete relief and legal support to people and communities that have been harmed by the criminalization of poverty and other forms of discrimination or deprivation of rights.

This yearlong clinical course is offered in partnership with the Legal Aid Justice Center, and course meetings are held onsite at the firm. LAJC’s clinics are designed to educate students about the range of strategies used by attorneys to identify, investigate and attack systemic injustices, encouraging holistic and community-partnered approaches to lawyering.

The Civil Rights Clinic capitalizes on the work of LAJC's Civil Rights & Racial Justice Program by tapping into the legal and organizing networks already working to address inequities at the local and state levels, and expanding that work in ways that will have a national as well as generational impact.

Students provide direct representation to clients as well as participate in impact advocacy, including: complex litigation in federal court, legal support for community education and organizing, administrative advocacy, and legislative and policy advocacy. Students acquire translatable skills that will be valuable to a wide range of future employers, from private firms with federal litigation practices to fellowships with prestigious civil rights and legal services firms outside of Virginia.

The Legal Aid Justice Center's strong local and national reputation allows it to work collaboratively on major cases and campaigns with private firms as well as organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center, the NAACP LDF, Equal Justice Under Law, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, and legal services and ACLU affiliates across the country. Through the clinic, students will participate in those collaborations, share student work with partners, and introduce students to potential private employers and fellowship host organizations.

Most importantly, students enrolled in the clinic come away with a deeper understanding of the relationship between race and poverty in America and the role of lawyers in challenging policies and practices that perpetuate poverty. The experience of lawyering for change will not only be intellectually challenging and personally fulfilling, but also will profoundly influence the way students engage in conversations about the critical issues of the day around dinner tables, boardrooms, courthouses and other public forums long after they graduate from the Law School.

Clinic Projects

Scott v. Clarke

Two Civil Rights Clinic students worked with an incarcerated diabetic patient at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women to write a compelling declaration detailing her suffering during the COVID-19 lockdown. They spent hours interviewing her, crafting a statement in her own words, and reading it back to her line by line to get her approval. After considering the briefing, Judge Norman K. Moon required the facility to provide a variety of information about its COVID-19 response. 

School Policing

A Civil Rights Clinic student, in coordination with LAJC’s work with Tenants & Workers United, created a handout focused on surveillance and school policing.

The positions that the clinic takes on behalf of its clients are independent of those of those of both the University of Virginia and the Law School. See ABA Model Rule 1.2 and Virginia Rule 1.2, Comment [5].

This material is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any legal issue or problem.

Skills Taught
Direct representation of clients, impact advocacy
Course Length
Course Credits

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