Clinic Descriptions

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. All clinics except the Criminal Defense and Criminal Prosecution clinics qualify. Through Advanced Clinic, students assume a greater range of responsibilities in case work, collaborate on cases across clinics, and help supervise new clinic students in client work. Students also participate in developing priorities for the clinical program as a multi-practice law office. The course can be taken for 2 credits (with 5 hours per week of case work) or 3 credits (with 10 hours per week of case work). In addition to case work, there is a weekly 90-minute seminar.

Students in Advanced Clinic may 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 case work of their fellow students. The seminar is in the form of weekly “case rounds” discussions planned and led by students. During these sessions, students 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 to prepare for upcoming court appearances, hearings, or other advocacy contexts.

Bankruptcy and Mortgage Foreclosure Clinic (6 credits)

Leif Rubinstein, Associate Professor of Law

The Bankruptcy and Mortgage Foreclosure 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 also participate in U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearings as well as prepare, file, and argue bankruptcy motions. Students become proficient in the “Best Case” bankruptcy software program. Students also assist clients in defending state foreclosure actions. In these proceedings, students prepare mortgage modification applications and answers to foreclosure complaints and motions and attend foreclosure conferences in state Supreme Court. This clinic is offered as both a 3-credit and 6-credit course.

Child Support Mediation Clinic (3 credits)

Gene D. Barr, , Associate Professor of Law

This clinic trains students to engage in mediation practice, gives students a chance to work as mediators for the court, and explores the merits and approaches to this alternative to litigation. The course develops problem solving, negotiation, and conflict management skills. Seminar focuses on mediation strategy and simulations, exploring the theory and practice the techniques underlying all phases of the facilitative mediation model of mediation. Students provide vital mediation services to the litigants in child support disputes and potentially other areas of need in Suffolk County Family Court. The course facilitates student development of essential mediator skills such as active listening, formulating questions, reframing, creating rapport, using language effectively, deescalating negative emotions, and non-verbal communication.

Criminal Defense Clinic (5 credits)*
Liz Justesen, Adjunct Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Defense Clinic

This clinic engages students in “Holistic Lawyering”- treating the whole client in a criminal case. Students learn about the concepts of holistic lawyering, client interviewing and communication, 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 dealing with the collateral consequences of justice system involvement. Students will practice real criminal defense work by handling current violation and misdemeanor criminal cases assigned to The Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County in the Cohalan Criminal Court in Central Islip. 12 clinic case hours are required per week in addition to the class time and assignments and readings for seminar.

Initially students will learn about criminal arraignments, and then actually arraign clients assigned to The Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County in court. Students will then learn about “working a criminal case” and be assigned several cases through the semester to manage, under the supervision of their clinic professor, from start to finish. Enrollment in this clinic requires Evidence as a prerequisite, Criminal Procedure as a pre or co-requisite, an interview with the clinic professor, additional screening by the Suffolk County Legal Aid Society, and is limited to 5 students.

Criminal Prosecution Clinic - Kings County DA (5 credits) (Spring semesters only)

Michael Boykin, Adjunct Professor

This hands-on course exposes students to the practice of criminal law through prosecutorial practice. Students take on the role of prosecutors at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, one of the nation’s most recognized and respected offices. Students will analyze and discuss the application, procedure, and principles surrounding criminal litigation through participation in actual cases. Under the guidance and supervision of managing Assistant District Attorneys, primarily in the trial division, Prosecution Clinic students handle their own small caseloads; interview witnesses; compile discovery; conduct legal research; assist with motion practice; screen appropriate level cases at ECAB (primarily DATs); and may participate in misdemeanor arraignments, observe court proceedings, and appear on the record. Enrollment in this clinic requires additional screening by the Kings County DA’s office.

Education Justice Clinic (6 credits)

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

Children who are racial minorities, immigrants, those with disabilities, and those from low-income backgrounds face barriers to a high-quality public education in Suffolk County. They are pushed out of school through exclusionary school discipline, are discriminated against, and are often denied the services and supports they need in school.
Seeking to reverse these trends, the Education Justice Clinic represents children in civil rights, school discipline, and special education advocacy. We also collaborate with community groups and other disciplines in broad efforts at policy and social reform.
Clinic students work primarily on special education and school discipline cases. In these cases, law students partner closely with low-income families to help their public school students obtain supports and services to address the child’s educational and behavioral needs. Students participate in various stages of the representation process including intake; interviewing; investigation; filing of complaints, motions, and briefs; settlement negotiations; advocacy at school-based meetings; and representation in mediations, trials, and hearings. The design of the clinic and timeline of special education cases gives students an opportunity to gain direct responsibility and experience with all stages of adversarial litigation. Students also learn to work effectively with the health science, educational, and mental health professionals who serve as the clinic’s expert consultants and witnesses.
The clinic’s work does not end there. We also, when helpful for our clients and when student interest and availability permit, represent clients in family court, in civil rights actions at the state and federal level, in personal injury matters arising from incidents at school, and in school discipline proceedings. We also collaborate in broader impact efforts to stop school pushout and the criminalization of youth.

Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (6 credits)

Mauricio Noroña , Clinical Professor of Law

The Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic is a rigorous program where students advocate for immigrants at all stages of deportation and collaborate with community-based and advocacy organizations on scale projects.

In their individual representation cases, students provide holistic representation to vulnerable immigrants facing deportation. This includes immigrants who are at risk of deportation due to encounters with the criminal legal system and those fleeing persecution. Unlike many areas of law, deportation cases rarely settle. As a result, students gain intensive litigation experience working in highly complex cases. In these cases, students may have the opportunity to develop the factual record, conduct trials, examine witnesses, work with experts, and draft and argue motions. These core litigation skills are transferable to any future area of legal practice. Critically, each individual case offers the chance to secure life-changing relief for the client, including release from immigration detention and the ability to live free from the risk of deportation. In the context of scale projects, students learn how to use the law to challenge injustice on a broader level by providing legal support to community-based and advocacy organizations. Lastly, the clinic features a weekly seminar covering substantive aspects of immigration law, lawyering skills, and nuanced discussion of the immigration laws and policies that affect our clients.

This clinic is an excellent opportunity for any student interested in a career in immigration, public interest, or community-based lawyering.

There are no prerequisites for this clinic, but it requires an interview with the clinic director.

Senior Citizens Law Program Clinic (6 credits)
Denise Marzano-Doty, Adjunct Professor of Law
AveMaria Thompson, Staff Attorney

The Senior Citizens Law Program Clinic (“SCLC”) is a federally-funded program established pursuant to the Title III-B of the Older Americans Act. SCLC provides pro bono legal services to senior citizens residing in Suffolk County. SCLC handles a broad range of types of cases including landlord-tenant representation, Section 8 and subsidized housing matters, preparation of powers of attorney/health care proxies/living wills, drafting of wills, Medicaid applications, social security disability claims, and pooled trust applications. The SCLC also provides representation at Medicaid fair hearings, in town zoning violations matters and in small claims court. Students learn how to interview clients, evaluate potential legal issues, strategize legal solutions, and research and draft correspondence, memoranda, and other documents. Students work with clients of varying ethnic, religious and income backgrounds and learn the importance of treating all clients with respect and patience. This clinic requires substantial in-person court and a weekly in-person presence for all clinic hours.

Not-for-Profit Clinic (3 credits)

William Bird, III, Adjunct Professor of Law

Students assist community groups interested in creating and operating their organizations. Students advise clients on the most appropriate form of organization to accomplish the group’s goals and how to create the most appropriate organizational structure. Clinic students provide ongoing legal services to local groups, charities, and other tax-exempt institutions. These matters may involve compliance with federal, state, and local laws, government filings, legal issues of fundraising, application for tax exempt status, advice on board and volunteer liability, restrictions on lobbying, and the creation of corporate structure and by-laws. Part-time and flex students have priority enrollment in this clinic. This clinic is fully remote for both seminar and case work but students may use the clinic offices and meet with clients in person if desired.

Veterans' and Servicemembers' Rights Clinic (6 credits)

Patrick Donohue, Supervising Attorney and Adjunct Professor of Law

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. The clinic gives priority to matters that will prevent or relieve homelessness or remove barriers to reintegration of veterans into civilian life.

*All representation is free of charge and strictly confidential.

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