BY: | DATE: Jun 10, 2024

CUNY Law’s clinical program, ranked among the nation’s best, showcased its outstanding leadership and expertise at the 2024 AALS Clinical Conference. From exploring strategies to protect immigrant business owners and reimagining traditional clinical supervision to advocating for greater law school access and transformative lawyering, CUNY Law speakers demonstrated their commitment to advancing justice and empowering communities.

Nermeen Arastu headshot.

PROF. NERMEEN ARASTU (she/her)

Panelist, Empirical Research as Resistance

Clinicians discuss using empirical research for systems change, sharing experiences, challenges, and strategies. They explore identifying research questions, gathering data, collaborating with social science partners, navigating IRB processes, and securing data access. Participants examine how to pursue empirical research in their clinical teaching and scholarship to drive change.

Co-Moderator, Bellow Scholars Program Report on Projects

Bellow Scholars showcase empirical research methodologies for clinical legal educators, exploring projects that use data analysis as an advocacy tool and involve collaboration across academic disciplines. The session aims to support clinicians in conducting or considering empirical research to improve justice, enhance legal services, and promote economic and social justice.

Headshot of CUNY Law faculty David Baluarte.

SENIOR ASSOCIATE DEAN DAVID BALUARTE (he/él)

Panelist, Following the Border: Law School Clinical Programs in the Era of Externalized and Internalized Migration Policies

Clinical professors from the U.S. and Mexico discuss collaborative responses to address migration challenges at the US-Mexico border and within Mexico. The Biden Administration and states have adopted anti-immigrant policies, like Operation Lone Star, violating domestic and international law. The U.S. has also externalized immigration controls to Mexico through “Asylum Ban 2.0” and CBP One, shifting refugee protection obligations. Law clinics in both countries collaborate across borders and disciplines to assist refugees facing limited legal protections due to externalized controls and anti-immigrant initiatives. The session details these efforts and emphasizes the need for more cross-clinic, cross-border, and cross-disciplinary collaboration to address the challenges posed by these trends.

Headshot of CUNY Law professor Eduardo Capulong '91.

PROF. EDUARDO R.C. CAPULONG ’91 (he/him)

Panelist, Stand in the Place Where You Live: Moral Courage and the Lawyer’s Rolle as Public Citizen

Clinicians are urged to advocate for greater access to law school for directly impacted students, especially those formerly incarcerated or system-involved. Panelists discuss removing criminal history questions from admissions applications and the importance of lived experience in movement lawyering, calling on clinicians to change exclusionary institutional practices.

Headshot of CUNY Law professor Jennifer Hernandez.

PROF. JENNIFER FERNANDEZ

Working Group Facilitator

Headshot of CUNY Law faculty Gayla Jacobson.

DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS GAYLA JACOBSON (she/her)

Panelist, Session: Do They Really Ask That? Criminal History Questions on Law School Applications.

In the face of attacks on affirmative action and fear-mongering around crime, clinical professors advocate for greater law school access for directly impacted students. Panelists discuss removing criminal history questions from admissions applications and the importance of lived experience in movement lawyering, urging clinicians to change exclusionary practices.

Headshot of CUNY Law professor Nicole Smith Futrell.

PROF. NICOLE SMITH FUTRELL (she/her)

Panelist, Rethinking Criminal Defense Advocacy Tools Through an Anti-oppression Lens

Presenters explore how abolitionist principles can influence public defenders’ advocacy and client engagement. They discuss moving beyond harm reduction, engaging communities as co-conspirators, exposing systemic injustice, and avoiding exceptionalizing individuals. New modes of advocacy, such as participatory defense and data use, are considered in the context of criminal clinics.

Headshot of CUNY Law professor Julia Hernandez '12.

PROF. JULIA HERNANDEZ ’12 (she/her)

Panelist, Meeting the Moment: The Pedagogy and Practice of Transformative Lawyering

Clinicians discuss experiments in pedagogy and practice to equip students for transformative lawyering that challenges resistant systems and professional norms. Presenters share approaches like “prefigurative practice” and “radical early defense,” distilling core competencies, reflecting on community partnerships, and inviting participants to consider adopting these methods in their own contexts.

Panelist, Out of the Comfort Zone and into the Fire: Aspirations and Challenges as Family Defense Clinicians and Students Break Ground Together

Family defense clinics are breaking new ground as the field pushes back against the over-policing of low-income families. Clinicians discuss introducing students to this civil rights field, developing early representation and affirmative litigation strategies, and supporting community organizers. They grapple with the challenges of supervising students in evolving practices and balancing teaching goals with social justice commitments.

Headshot of CUNY Law professor Tarek Z. Ismail.

PROF. TAREK Z. ISMAIL (he/him)

Panelist, Meeting the Moment: The Pedagogy and Practice of Transformative Lawyering

Clinicians discuss experiments in pedagogy and practice to equip students for transformative lawyering that challenges resistant systems and professional norms. Presenters share approaches like “prefigurative practice” and “radical early defense,” distilling core competencies, reflecting on community partnerships, and inviting participants to consider adopting these methods in their own contexts.

Panelist, Out of the Comfort Zone and into the Fire: Aspirations and Challenges as Family Defense Clinicians and Students Break Ground Together

Family defense clinics are breaking new ground as the field pushes back against the over-policing of low-income families. Clinicians discuss introducing students to this civil rights field, developing early representation and affirmative litigation strategies, and supporting community organizers. They grapple with the challenges of supervising students in evolving practices and balancing teaching goals with social justice commitments.

Headshot of CUNY Law professor Donna Lee.

PROF. DONNA LEE (she/her)

Panelist, Decolonizing Clinical Pedagogy: Supervision Sessions

Clinical faculty explore decolonizing supervision by centering issues of race, power, and privilege. They discuss strategies for antiracist, decolonizing pedagogy, such as examining positionality, lived experiences, and the role of law in oppression to reimagine traditional orthodoxy and equip students with analytical tools for courageous conversations.

Headshot of CUNY Law professor Jason Parkin.

PROF. JASON PARKIN (he/him)

Discussant and Moderator for Works-in-Progress Session on Building Community Power

Headshot of CUNY Law professor Talia Peleg.

PROF. TALIA PELEG (she/her)

Panelist, When Transparency Harms: Helping the Federal Corporate Transparency Act
Clinicians from community development and immigration law clinics discuss the Corporate Transparency Act’s impact on immigrant business owners, as well as strategies to protect personal information, adapt practices, and collaborate on cases to support clients in light of the new disclosure requirements.

Headshot of CUNY Law professor Susan Salazar.

PROF. SUSAN SALAZAR (she/her)

Working Group Facilitator