The Equality and Justice Practice Clinic (EJPC) places students with some of the institutions and organizations challenging civil rights violations in New York City as well as nationally. Through this array of social justice field placements, students learn firsthand how to apply constitutional law and civil rights statutes. In this practice clinic, students work with civil rights lawyers in New York City, litigating and advocating on behalf of clients to eradicate discrimination. The substantive area studied is Section 1983 actions against governmental entities, including civil rights violations against incarcerated individuals and police misconduct claims (Civil Rights Act of 1871). Cases in this clinic work with clients facing racial and sexual discrimination and harassment in the workplace, police misconduct, educational equity, wage theft, civil rights claims on behalf of incarcerated individuals, in addition to affirmative action, sexual orientation, disability, age, and other potential discrimination issues.
Students engage in this examination through both a classroom seminar, which includes simulated lawyering exercises, “rounds” where the students discuss legal and ethical issues from their placements and working two days a week in a civil rights field placement under the supervision of a staff attorney and consultation with Practice Clinic faculty. In addition to fieldwork and weekly rounds, the clinic includes group work, where students are put in small teams that then act as a “firm” on a hypothetical case. Through the simulations, students collaborate in lawyering exercises including developing the facts of a case, drafting legal memoranda, preparing discovery plans, drafting discovery requests, drafting court complaints, and conducting examinations in a trial-like setting, and write and argue a motion for summary judgement. Students complete the clinic learning real litigation skills they bring to future employers.