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 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 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)

Liz Justesen,  

The objective of this clinic is to educate and prepare students for real criminal defense work within a “holistic” model of lawyering, a collaborative approach to client services that addresses the social, emotional, and educational needs in addition to providing legal representation. Students will work with admitted attorneys on actual cases pending in the Suffolk County 1st District Court for violations and misdemeanors and be permitted on the record for court appearances. Students will be involved in all aspects of the criminal defense of the client and learn how to utilize ancillary services to not only improve the outcome of the client’s case, but potentially their life.

Students will be expected to develop a meaningful relationship with their clients, analyze the legal case, investigate, refer clients for services, develop a theory of the case, prepare motions, plea bargain and/or assist with hearing or trial preparation, and potentially participate in such proceedings. They will be required to attend their team meetings and fully engage in the criminal defense process within the firm, meet with their task supervisor on-site on a weekly basis to further conference their cases, and have case rounds and substantive training in class with Elizabeth Justesen, Esq, the community outreach director of the Legal Aid Society and an experienced criminal defense attorney and social worker. All activities will take place in Central Islip.

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 (5 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 (5 credits)

William Brooks, Professor of Law; Director of the Immigration Law Clinic
Sanam Ghandehari, Staff Attorney

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.

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 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 (5 credits)

Chad Lennon, Director

Craig Bruno, 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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