Civil Rights Clinic

Section 1, Spring 19

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 6/6
Credits: 5

Course Description

Clinic students will 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. While there has been for some time a robust national conversation regarding the intersection of race and poverty and the resultant inequities in communities of color across systems from criminal justice to housing, education, and healthcare, even more exciting is the local conversation about these issues happening in Charlottesville and across Virginia. The Clinic will capitalize on the work of the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Civil Rights & Racial Justice Program, by tapping into the legal and organizing networks already working to address these inequities at the local and state levels, and expanding that work in ways that will have a national as well as generational impact. The Clinic will allow students to provide direct representation to individual 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 will 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 has a strong local and national reputation and often works collaboratively on major cases and campaigns with private firms as well as organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center, NAACP LDF, Equal Justice Under Law, Shriver Center, and legal services and ACLU affiliates across the country. Through the Clinic, Legal Aid will give students opportunities to 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 will 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.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): None
Description: None

Final Type (if any): None

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Assignments will consist of written work product that will range from memoranda on client/community member interviews; legal research memos; policy & advocacy briefs; Freedom of Information Act requests; to formal pleadings and other court filings.

Other Work
Students will engage in an ongoing feedback process with instructors over the course of the clinical program including a formal, written evaluation that will allow students to self-evaluate their progress over the course of the program, evaluate the clinic instructors, and receive concrete assessments of their development and growth from the instructors based on assignments.

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: There are no required course prerequisites, but these are recommended: Constitutional Criminal Procedure; Trial Advocacy; Federal Courts; Civil Rights Litigation. Because the credits in this course count toward the JD Program Professional Skills requirement, JD candidates will be given enrollment priority for this class. Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: Yes
Course Notes: Application to the clinic is required (consisting of answers to 3-4 questions and a resume). Students will be selected based on their written application. The application details will be announced by SRO via email, and students selected for the clinic will be identified to SRO prior to the course enrollment process commencing in October for Spring classes.

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: Yes
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

General Information

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
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Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: