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.

Advanced In-House Clinic (2 or 3 credits)

Melina Healey, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Programs

The Advanced In-House Clinic is available to students who have successfully completed an in-house clinic. The “in-house” clinics are those clinics that are operated out of the law center, and which share clients as a single law office. They include all current clinics with the exception of the Criminal Defense and Criminal Prosecution Clinics.

Advanced Clinic provides an opportunity to take on a greater range of responsibilities in casework, to collaborate on cases across clinics through rigorous inter-clinic case rounds and consultation, and to help supervise new clinic students on client work. Students in the Advanced Clinic will continue their ongoing client cases, take on additional cases, deepen their engagement with the relevant substantive issues, and learn from the problems and opportunities presented by the casework of their fellow students.

The Advanced In-House Clinic will meet in seminar for one 50-minute session weekly and will take the learning opportunities presented by the students’ casework as its primary material, employing in weekly “case rounds” discussions planned and led by the students. They will engage in structured reflection and consultation with each other about their cases; review and provide feedback on drafts of written submissions; discuss possible strategic and ethical choices that must be made on cases; and “moot” each other to prepare for upcoming court appearances, hearings, or other advocacy contexts. In addition, students will be responsible for selecting substantive issues for more focused examination than is possible in the basic semester-long clinic. Each student or student pair will take responsibility, in collaboration with Professor Healey and their clinic supervisor, for developing a set of readings, questions, and case issues to discuss in the weekly seminar. The students will structure and facilitate group discussions of these topics.

Bankruptcy and Mortgage Foreclosure Clinic (6 credits)

Leif Rubinstein, Associate Professor of Law

The Bankruptcy Clinic represents clients in personal bankruptcy proceedings in federal court and counsel debtors on available alternatives to bankruptcy. Students interview and counsel clients, investigate facts, review financial records, and negotiate on behalf of their clients. Students will also participate in U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearings as well as prepare, file and argue bankruptcy motions. Students learn to prepare bankruptcy petitions using the “Best Case” bankruptcy software program. Students are required to devote a minimum of 12 hours per week doing clinic work as well as attend a weekly 3 hour seminar.

Child Support Mediation Clinic (3 credits)

Michelle Leonard, Associate Professor of Law

This clinic trains students to engage in mediation practice and explores the merits and approaches to this alternative to litigation. The course develops problem-solving, negotiation, and conflict management skills. Seminar will focus on mediation strategy and simulations, exploring the theory and practice the techniques underlying all phases of the facilitative mediation model of mediation. Students will also provide vital mediation services to the litigants in child support disputes and potentially other areas of need. Particular emphasis will be placed on developing essential mediator skills, such as active listening, formulating questions, reframing, creating rapport, using language effectively, deescalating negative emotions, and non-verbal communication. This clinic is fully remote.

Community Law Services Clinic (6 credits)

Leif Rubinstein, Associate Professor of Law

This clinic will provide the 2-Year JD students with opportunities to cover cases in several different practice areas, including mortgage foreclosures, veterans’ affairs, immigration, landlord-tenant, special education law, bankruptcy and elder law. Students will be required to complete 168 hours of field work and 42 hours of seminar time, spread over a 10 week period. Clinic students will interview clients, engage in fact investigation/fact gathering, prepare legal documents, represent clients at conferences and appear in court on some of their cases, under the direct supervision of a member of the clinical faculty. (Open only to second-year 2-year J.D. students or with permission by Director of Clinical Programs)

Criminal Defense Postconviction Clinic (5 credits)*

Liz Justesen, Adjunct Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Defense Clinic

This clinic focuses on “Holistic Lawyering”-treating the whole client in a criminal case. Students learn about the concepts of holistic lawyering, interviewing and communication with the client, bail reform, integrating social work services to help clients navigate the court system, discovery reform and review, investigation, omnibus motion writing, mitigation, plea bargaining, trial prep and collateral consequences. Seminar includes trial level criminal defense simulations using actual closed cases of The Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County. Case work involves real clients assisted remotely via phone/video consultations or in person consultations if the clients meet the criteria for entry to the school. Students will work with the instructor and the Breaking Barriers program to help clients obtain their RAP sheets (Report of Arrest and Prosecution) from Albany, review and help correct potential errors, evaluate for post-conviction relief, and assist clients in applying for certificates of rehabilitation and sealing motions.

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.

Education and Youth Justice Clinic (6 credits)

Melina Healey, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Clinical Programs

Clinic students engage in critically important work for justice-involved youth. They defend young people involved in the Suffolk County juvenile and criminal justice systems and advocate for their educational rights. The Youth Justice Clinic collaborates with professionals-in-training from other disciplines to meet the diverse client needs of this vulnerable group. The course also provides an opportunity to discuss and address systemic issues around the school-to-prison pipeline.

Clinic students provide educational advocacy to justice-involved young people in matters such as school suspension and expulsion hearings; special education proceedings; and impartial hearings. They also represent those young people in delinquency and adolescent offender cases. Students collaborate with peers in schools of social work and education to ensure that clients’ educational and therapeutic needs are met and their outcomes in court cases are maximized. Students also, work on impact litigation and policy and legislative efforts to address the patterns of injustice they encounter in client representation. The Clinic includes simulated investigations; client interviewing and counseling; and a trial. Seminar explores the problem of widespread under-education and over-incarceration of youth of color. Students will examine the school-to-prison pipeline, including the responsibilities of family and schools, the role of implicit bias, how current laws and policies contribute to the pipeline, how trauma-informed practices can inform our laws and policies, what reforms might better serve youth, and how practitioners across disciplines can address these problems.

Immigration Law Clinic (6 credits)

The Immigration Law Clinic provides representation to individuals fleeing gang and other violence in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. The Clinic seeks to obtain legal status for its clients by means of asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. The 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 within our legal system.

Landlord-Tenant Mediation Clinic (3 credits)

AveMaria Thompson, Adjunct Professor of Law

Clinic students in the Landlord-Tenant Mediation Clinic are trained in the basics of mediation and are given the important responsibility to facilitate mediations in active landlord-tenant cases in Suffolk County District Court. Students will learn the basics of landlord-tenant law and mediation techniques. Seminar will include simulations exploring negotiation and alternative dispute resolution. For case work, students will be paired in groups of two and, under the supervision of a court-certified mediator, will act as mediators with the goal of resolving cases. This clinic will provide a critically important service to litigants and judges in landlord-tenant matters. It is anticipated that housing courts will receive a crush of cases due to the expiration of eviction moratoriums, uncertainty of unemployment insurance benefits, and other challenges posed by the pandemic. Students will also develop negotiation skills, proficiency in mediation, and knowledge of landlord-tenant law and court procedures.

Senior Citizens Law Project

Denise Marzano-Doty, Adjunct Professor of Law
AveMaria Thompson, Staff Attorney

The Senior Citizens Law Project (SCLP) is a Federally-funded program, which is established pursuant to the requirements of Title III-B of the Older Americans Act. The Program provides pro bono legal services to senior citizens, age 60+, residing in Suffolk County. Services are not income-based, although there is an effort to serve the needy, low-income and underserved populations. Under the supervision of the Senior Staff Attorney and the Staff Attorney, the SCLP handles several types of cases. These include Landlord-Tenant, Section 8 and subsidized housing matters, preparation of Powers of Attorney/Health Care Proxies/Living Wills, Medicaid applications and Pooled Trust applications. The SCLP also provides representation at Medicaid Fair hearings, in Town Zoning Violations matters, and in Small Claims Court cases. Students learn how to interview clients, evaluate potential legal issues strategize potential legal solutions, draft correspondence, memoranda, and other documents and enhance their research skills. Utilizing the Student Practice Order, students also have the opportunity to present cases in court under the supervision of the Senior or Staff attorney. For many students, this is the first opportunity to work with an actual client. Students have the opportunity to work with clients of varying ethnic, religious and income backgrounds and learn the importance of treating all clients with respect and patience.

Small Business and Not-for-Profit Clinic (3 credits)

William Bird, III, Adjunct Professor of Law

The Small Business and 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 the 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 (6 credits)

Robert Greenberg, Staff Attorney

The clinic honors the sacrifices of the men and women who have worn the uniforms of our nation’s armed forces. The services the clinic provides are particularly needed in Suffolk County, which has one of the largest concentrations of veterans anywhere in the country and is the site of a major VA Hospital, the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Students, working under the supervision of an experienced attorney-professor, provide free legal assistance to veterans and their families, visit veterans homeless shelters, participate in stand-downs, and present programs advising veterans on their legal rights.
The clinic gives priority to matters that will prevent or relieve homelessness or remove barriers to the reintegration of veterans into civilian life.
Typical matters handled in the clinic include:
  • Landlord-tenant/eviction
  • Debt relief/collection
  • Bankruptcy
  • Mortgage Foreclosure
  • Driver’s license restoration
  • Child support modification
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Warrants and fines
  • Income tax
  • Benefits applications and appeals
  • Discharge upgrades

This clinic was featured in the Touro College magazine Links.
Touro College Magazine 

This clinic was featured in the New York Post

NY Post Article
*All representation is free of charge and strictly confidential.

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