The Racial Justice Law Clinic will teach second and third year students how to engage in direct representation, strategic litigation, and other forms of advocacy as part of a greater movement to advance the rights of Black, Indigenous, Latine/x, Asian-American Pacific Islander, and/or other People of Color.
In its first year, Clinic students will do the work of setting up a legal practice from the ground up. Students will determine the priority issue areas for the Clinic’s legal advocacy in partnership with impacted community members, local movement leaders, and organizations already working to advance equity and justice for people of color in Minnesota. Clinic priorities will be dynamic and responsive to community needs and therefore may vary from year to year. Issue areas may include some combination of policing, employment, education, housing, and/or others.
Through classroom instruction, students will learn fundamental Critical Race Theory concepts and apply those teachings as guiding principles throughout their legal practice. Through the seminar, case supervision, and case team work, students will learn a broad range of skills important to community and movement lawyering and to the effective representation of clients in civil rights litigation and complementary forms of advocacy, such as: community outreach; building and maintaining relationships with potential community partners, co-counsel, and clients; planning and leading listening sessions; engaging in public speaking and public education; client contact and communication; client interviewing; legal ethics; legal research and fact investigation; and crafting a strategic plan and recommendations for the Clinic’s near-term docket and priority issue areas.
- Students must be willing to meet with and interview community members and potential clients at a variety of locations. Some local travel will be required. Any in-person meetings are to be conducted in a manner that prioritizes the safety and health of participants during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- Students must have regular access to a computer with internet.
- Students must have access to a phone.
- Students should expect and be prepared likely evening and weekend work to accommodate the needs and schedules of working community members and clients. However, the Clinic endeavors to model work/life balance and encourages students to counterbalance any evening and weekend work responsibilities, to the extent possible.
If access to transportation, a computer, internet, or any of the above requirements presents a barrier, the Clinic will assist students in meeting this need. If working evenings or weekends presents a barrier for any reason (e.g., childcare, work, familial responsibilities, religious observance, other), students will be encouraged to work together with their case teams to provide coverage that is sensitive to the needs of their classmates and colleagues.
NOTE: This course requires certification pursuant to the student practice rule and is open to JD students only.