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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.)

Child Advocacy Clinic (5 credits)
Danielle Schwager, Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law; Director of the Child Advocacy Clinic

The Child Advocacy Clinic offers students the opportunity to serve the legal needs of children involved in family court proceedings. All work is done under close faculty supervision and is staffed by upper level law students, who, practicing under a special court order, will represent children in abuse and neglect cases, in matters involving allegations ranging from physical and sexual abuse to educational neglect and inadequate supervision. Students will also represent youth in custody and visitation disputes, domestic violence cases and termination of parental rights matters.
Students in the clinic spend one full day a week in court and spend at least a dozen hours each week meeting with their clients and preparing their cases. They also engage in an intensive training program that is supplemented by a weekly seminar.
Clinic students will advocate for their clients in all aspects of the practice of law including conducting discovery, hearings and full trials, motion practice and appeals, as well as negotiating settlements and formulating dispositional plans.
Outside of court, students will maintain regular contact with their clients, investigate the factual allegations made in the case, formulate realistic and compassionate plans for clients and their families, work closely with mental health professionals, caseworkers, teachers, law enforcement professionals, foster parents-all to ensure that their clients’ needs are being met.
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) 

Melissa Luckman, Visiting Assisting Clinical Professor of Law; Director of the Disaster Relief Clinic
The Disaster Relief Clinic will provide students an opportunity to learn basic lawyering skills essential to the practice of law. Students assist clients who have been impacted by Super Storm Sandy. Under faculty supervision students represent clients in real estate and land use matters. This includes public benefits, such as FEMA claims, public utility issues, insurance matters, contractor and customer issues, as well as issues that have a broad impact on disaster recovery. The course consists of a 5 credit Disaster Relief Clinic, and a weekly seminar. Students will work a minimum of 12-15 hours in the clinic on client matters.
The Clinic will provide free legal help related to disaster relief centered on:
• FEMA review process;
• Property damage and rebuilding;
• Insurance issues;
• Consumer fraud;
• Issues related to emergency financial assistance and temporary housing;
• Housing repair and contractor issues;
• FEMA & NYR recoupments.

Elder Law Clinic
Marianne Artusio, Associate Professor of Law, Director of the Elder Law Clinic, Faculty Director of the Aging and Longevity Law Institute

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.

Immigration Law Clinic (5 credits)

William Brooks, Professor of Law; Director of the Immigration Law Clinic

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.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (5 credits)

Michelle Robinson, Director 

The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic will provide students with the opportunity to represent low income taxpayers in controversy cases before the Internal Revenue Service. Students will obtain special appearance authorization to practice before the IRS. The course is designed to train students in the practice of tax controversy law by affording them hands-on training and first-chair experience in federal income tax litigation under the supervision of the Clinic’s Director. Students will learn applicable federal tax law and federal tax practice and procedure as well as training in professional skills such as, interviewing and counseling, negotiating, writing and litigation. The clinic operates on a grant from the IRS but is not affiliated with or endorsed by the IRS and utilizing services from an LITC will not affect the taxpayer’s rights before the IRS.

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

Deborah Misir, Visiting Assistant Clinic Professor of Law and Director  

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 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.