Community Advocacy Lab

Students in this clinic become lawyers who promote social justice as problem solvers, creative researchers, and strategic planners. Representing community groups, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies, students employ an expansive range of lawyering strategies beyond litigation to create a more just legal system.

In the Field

Students develop and advance policy campaigns, design and evaluate legal services and access to justice programs, advocate to change court rules and systems, and draft legislation. Participants work closely with clients, experts, and community members to find innovative solutions to legal problems.

Community Advocacy Lab students are currently working on issues such as juvenile justice reform; fines and fees in the criminal justice system; and access to justice in family law, public housing law, consumer law, and workers’ rights.

In the Classroom

Students consider the complexity of poverty, social justice, and racial justice across different areas of the law while developing a range of advocacy skills, including:

  • Interviewing, research, and information gathering
  • Problem solving, strategic analysis, and design thinking
  • Policy and legislative advocacy
  • Written and oral advocacy
  • Collaboration
  • Working with diverse communities
  • Project planning and management
  • Media engagement

Students attend supervision meetings with the clinic director and work with clients and colleagues during office hours. Seminars encourage skill development, address the theoretical and substantive bases of the clinic’s work, and provide opportunities for students to reflect on their work and development as lawyers.

Information for Clients and Partners

The Community Advocacy Lab works closely with non-profit, advocacy, and community organizations and government agencies each semester.  We are continually inviting potential clients and partners to discuss the possibilities for collaboration. If you are interested in working with us, contact Professor Colleen F. Shanahan at [email protected] for more information.