Section Description Provided by Instructor
This externship is Columbia Law School's offering in New York's Pro Bono Scholars Program (PBSP). As such, it is the only class that the participating students will take in their final semester at the Law School. Pro Bono Scholars will take the February New York State bar exam and take this externship after that until the end of May. Students who successfully complete the bar exam requirements and the externship will (1) graduate in June (but can participate in the graduation events) and (2) be admitted to the bar in the summer following graduation.
The goal of the externship is to encourage students to learn and think about the need for social justice lawyers, the different approaches to what it means to be a social justice lawyer, including pro bono, and their own future work as social justice lawyers. Students will consider the critical importance of diversity both in the profession and across the profession. We will discuss and analyze the strengths, tradeoffs, and complementary benefits of various social justice advocacy models, using student placements and the rich fabric of legal non-profits in New York City as case studies. It also will provide ample opportunity for students to learn skills and values necessary to provide effective, ethical and responsible legal services to low-income individuals and communities and to reflect on their work in the field..
The externship consists of two components: a graded seminar for which students will receive 4 academic credits and a field component for which they will receive 8 clinical credits. The grade for the seminar will be based on class participation (60%) and the two reflection papers and other writing assignments (40%). Most of the students' time will be spent doing associate-level legal work at an organization that is a member of the Leap Legal Advocacy Partnership (www.leap-ny.org) or a comparable organization. Students will meet individually with the externship teachers to identify which member(s) of Leap would likely provide them with an opportunity to both work on issues of importance to them and explore advocacy methodologies of interest to them. If no Leap organization satisfies the studen's learning goals, other organizations may be selected, The co-teachers then will manage a process of matching students with the selected organizations. The field component is not graded.
Students must apply for the class in August and commit to it and their host organizations by mid-September.
The grade for the seminar will be based on class participation (70%) and the two reflection papers and other writing assignments (30%).