Human Rights Litigation Clinic
The Human Rights Litigation Clinic will focus on mechanisms for human rights accountability in domestic courts, including local civil rights litigation of §1983 claims for unhoused people and rights of immigrant detainees, trafficking lawsuits under the Trafficking Victim Protection Act (TVPRA), a contentious case before the IACHR, and consumer fraud cases based on false claims of “sustainability” that target corporations selling goods produced with slave labor, and Alien Tort Statute cases. Students will be given the opportunity to engage in actual litigation together with law firm partners and nonprofit organizations. The mix of domestic rights work and international litigation projects is designed to give students exposure to many different types of legal skills. The project work will include supervision meetings with the clinical instructor and meetings with outside partners throughout the semester. The class will be a mixture of doctrinal teaching on some days, skills training on others, and project rounds (facilitated classroom conversations among clinic students where they discuss their project work, apply and test lawyering theory in the real world, and extract theory and practical ideas from their classmates’ experiences). These three methods will complement each other by giving the students sufficient background in the complicated nexus between international and domestic law; allowing students to apply that law in the context of clients and to examine how the current law does and does not obscure their clients’ lived realities; and giving the students the chance to expose problems they have noticed in practice and to discuss with their colleagues future changes or innovative approaches to law. We will also discuss professional ethics, empowering clients, working with clients with past trauma, and sustainable ways to practice the profession.