Clinic Descriptions

Advanced Bankruptcy Clinic (3 credits)
Leif Rubinstein, Associate Professor of Law

The Advanced Bankruptcy Clinic will represent debtors in Chapter 13 Proceedings, in which debtors arrange a multi-year payment plan to pay outstanding debts and avoid liquidation.  Students in this clinic also represent defendants in Adversary Proceedings in bankruptcy.  These proceedings include matters in which a trustee attempts to recover assets transferred by a debtor and similar matters involving contested issues.  Students will appear in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court under attorney supervision on behalf of their clients.  To participate in the Advanced Bankruptcy Clinic students must have successfully completed the Mortgage Foreclosure & Bankruptcy Clinic.
 

Bankruptcy Clinic (5 credits)
Leif Rubinstein, Associate Professor of Law

The Bankruptcy Clinic provides advice and represents clients who are in financial distress. Students will gather information from and on behalf of the client and then prepare a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition. Students will also participate in U.S. Bankruptcy Court at Section 341 hearings as well as prepare, file and argue numerous bankruptcy motions. (Professional Responsibility suggested.)
 

Criminal Defense Clinic (5 credits)

The Criminal Defense Clinic provides students with the opportunity to engage in the actual practice of criminal law under the supervision of an experienced Attorney at the Legal Aid or Public Defender’s Office and the faculty supervisor. Each student is placed with an attorney and works with that attorney on the attorney’s cases for a minimum of 12 hours each week, through all phases of the criminal process, from arraignment through trial. Students may accompany attorneys to court, participate in client and witness interviews, conduct investigations, review documents, draft motions, and help develop case theory and litigation strategies. In addition to the required field hours, students attend a weekly 3-hour seminar where the faculty supervisor focuses on selected topics in criminal law and procedure, evidence, ethics, and lawyering skills. The substance of the seminar may be drawn from the cases the students are working on, may include simulations, and may focus on the students’ experiences with their attorney/cases, with particular scrutiny of the political, social, economic, and psychological factors that frequently determine the outcome of criminal proceedings.
 

Criminal Prosecution Clinic (5 credits)
John Buonora, Adjunct Professor

This clinic provides students with hands-on experience working in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office prosecuting real cases in the Suffolk County District Court. Students will be assigned misdemeanors (including DWIs) and violations. Students will have primary responsibility for their cases and will appear on the record on all phases of their cases while working under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys and the faculty supervisor. Students conduct investigations, interview police and civilian witnesses and negotiate dispositions with defense counsel, as well as prepare for and conduct hearings and trials. Students will work a minimum of 12 hours weekly in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. In addition a 3-hour weekly seminar, taught by the faculty supervisor, will provide a focused course of study on the prosecution process, premised on the understanding that students already have a basic knowledge of criminal law and criminal procedure. This clinic will give the student live practice in the role of the prosecutor as part of the criminal justice system, while experiencing the myriad legal, social, economic and political issues that are present in the practice of criminal law and in the criminal justice process.

 

 

Disaster Relief Clinic;(5, 3 credits)
Benjamin Rajotte, Visiting Professor of Law

The Disaster Relief Clinic will provide up to 12 students per semester an opportunity to learn basic lawyering skills essential to the practice of law while assisting clients who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  Under faculty supervision students will represent clients in real estate and land use matters, public benefits including FEMA claims, public utilities issues, insurance matters, employment issues, contractor and consumer issues as well as issues that have a broad impact on disaster recovery problems affecting a larger number of clients or public policies for disaster recovery or assistance. The course will consist of 2 components: the 2-credit Disaster Law and Policy course which can be taken as a pre or co-requisite and a 3-credit Disaster Relief Clinic which includes a 2-hour weekly seminar.  Students will work 10-12 hours in the clinic on client matters.
The Clinic will provide free legal help related to disaster relief centered on:
• Employment issues
• Housing/real estate - including condemnation issues
• Landlord/tenant issues
• FEMA (benefits and emergency aid)
• Property damage and rebuilding
• Land-use and environmental issues
• Insurance issues
• Consumer fraud
• Medical/hospital discharge issues
• Issues specifically related to the frail elderly and other seniors
• Domestic violence
• Issues related to emergency financial assistance and temporary housing
• Housing repair and contractor issues
• Small business related issues

Elder Law Clinic (5 credits)
Marianne Artusio, Associate Professor of Law

The Elder Law Clinic introduces students to the unique challenges of practicing law on behalf of the elderly, while also providing training in basic law practice skills. As the elderly population has increased, the field of elder law has become a growing specialty, demanding more sophisticated expertise to effectively advise and assist clients.

Under the supervision of experienced faculty, students spend 12 to 15 hours per week advising and representing senior clients in a wide range of legal matters in courts, administrative agencies, and negotiation settings. Through their work, students experience law practice in the larger context of social, supportive, and advocacy services for the elderly. Students also develop an appreciation for the role of lawyers and legal institutions in protecting rights and enhancing the quality of life of the aging population.

While the focus is on serving elderly clients, students gain practical legal training in interviewing, counseling, negotiation, drafting, and advocacy, while providing legal advice and representation in areas such as health care, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, wills, consumer issues, elder abuse, and age discrimination.

The clinic also includes a weekly seminar, which features an interdisciplinary approach through insights from the fields of sociology, gerontology, psychology, and health facilities administration. The seminar is also the setting for practicing essential professional skills, using simulated problems or problems drawn from current cases to prepare for activities in actual cases.

Family Law Clinic (5 credits)
Lewis Silverman, Professor of Clinical Law

The Family Law Clinic offers students the opportunity to learn family law practice from a variety of perspectives, including litigation, negotiation, and court proceedings. Working 12 to 15 hours a week under the supervision of experienced faculty and practitioners, students represent clients in divorce litigation, child support enforcement, and family offense proceedings.

Although the focus is on family law issues, the clinic also provides training in skills applicable to the practice of law generally. Through an intensive training program supplemented by a weekly seminar, students learn to interview clients; investigate and develop relevant facts; negotiate on behalf of clients; draft litigation documents; and handle in-court proceedings, including divorce, child support, and domestic violence cases.

To prepare for their responsibilities, students participate in an intensive training program covering the dynamics of family violence, the social and psychological dimensions of domestic abuse, the system of shelters and social services available to victims, and the police and criminal court procedures involved in the response to domestic violence. Students also learn special skills needed to interview and counsel clients who have endured these traumas.

Because protecting victims of family violence is a major focus of the clinic's mission, students spend one day each week in Family Court, where they interview and represent clients seeking court protection. Whether they secure a negotiated agreement or a court order after a trial, students experience the satisfaction of knowing that by obtaining an order of protection, excluding the batterer from the home or confiscating a weapon, their efforts have gained the client a measure of safety.
 

Federal Prosecution Clinic – TBD (6 credits)

The Federal Prosecution Clinic exposes students to a variety of practice skills and ethical issues, while giving them an opportunity to reflect on the lawyer’s role both as an advisor and officer of the court. Students work 20 hours per week at the office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York in both the Civil and Criminal Divisions. The depth and range of the organization’s caseload affords students exposure to a variety of work, including fact investigation, discovery, and trial work, as well as co-ordination with a number of federal agencies.

 

Immigration Law Clinic

Prof. William Brooks (5 credits) 

The Immigration Law Clinic provides students with a variety of practical lawyering skills such as case planning, research and writing, interviewing and counseling, in addition to helping individual clients. While advocating for immigrants, students experience how cultural, economic and political forces influence the treatment of immigrants in our legal system. The clinic is committed to law reform and to advance the cause of social justice.

Mortgage Foreclosure Clinic (5 credits)
Melissa Greenberger, Adjunct Professor

Students represent clients whose homes are either in mortgage foreclosure proceedings or are about to go into foreclosure. Representation includes assisting clients to renegotiate the mortgage terms to save their homes, representation in mandatory court conferences and in preparing and presenting any defenses available in the foreclosure case.

 

Small Business and Not-for-Profit Law Clinic (2 credits)
William Bird, III, Adjunct Professor of Law

 The Not-for-Profit Corporation Law Clinic is dedicated to assisting community groups and non-profit organizations. These entities provide a large and important array of services in any community: charitable, civic, health care, education, children's programs, senior citizens' services, advocacy for disadvantaged groups, recreational and entertainment projects and much more. Whether long-established or recently formed to address an emerging problem, both the organizations and their staff and board members need sound legal advice to function properly, fulfill legal requirements, and carry out their purposes.

This clinic enables students to engage in the practice of basic corporate and non-profit law while helping community groups accomplish important goals. Under the supervision of experienced faculty, students advise groups on appropriate forms of organization to accomplish their goals. They also provide ongoing legal services in matters such as creation of corporate structure and by-laws; application for tax-exempt status; compliance with federal, state, and local laws; government filings; fundraising; advice on board and volunteer liability; restrictions on lobbying and other actions of the organization.

Clinic students work an average of eight hours each week on client matters, typically in the evenings; they also participate in a weekly seminar covering the laws and procedures that apply to non-profit groups and corporations. (Evening division students receive enrollment preference.)

 

Veterans' and Servicemembers' Rights Clinic (5 credits)
Kenneth A. Rosenblum, Associate Dean for Administration and Visiting Professor of Law 

This Clinic assists veterans and active duty service members in matters in which military service has created special protections or created unique burdens. Clinic students work closely with the Suffolk County Veterans Court, a specialized part of the Suffolk County court system that helps veterans charged with criminal offenses by diverting them from the traditional criminal justice system and providing them with the tools they need to live productive lives, through treatment and judicial monitoring. Students may also represent veterans in benefits claims, regaining employment after deployment, employment discrimination claims, obtaining accommodation for disabilities and discharge review and upgrade proceedings.

Advocating for veterans and servicemembers enables students to handle a wide range of legal matters and to serve those who have served our nation.

This clinic was featured in the Touro College magazine Links.
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