Externship on Advancing Social and Environmental Justice in the New York Attorney General's Office
Andrew Elmore and Monica Wagner, Lecturers-in-Law (2 graded academic and 3 ungraded clinical credits)
The Externship on Advancing Social and Environmental Justice in the New York State Attorney General's Office will be comprised of (a) a weekly, two-hour seminar focused on the authority and role of the New York State Attorney General in enforcing laws relating to social, economic and environmental justice, including environmental and consumer protection, civil rights, labor, health, charities, and tobacco; and (b) fifteen hours per week of fieldwork (five of which may be conducted off site) in one of seven bureaus of the New York Attorney General's Social Justice and Economic Justice Divisions. Students will receive five credits total, two graded academic credits for the seminar and three ungraded credits for the fieldwork component. The seminar will be graded on weekly class participation, class presentations and simulations, periodic short reflection papers on readings and fieldwork, and a final paper. The course will be limited to approximately ten students to facilitate active engagement and discussion. The course will be taught in the fall, and will be open to JD candidates. There are no prerequisites.
The Attorney General enforces laws relating to social justice and environmental and consumer protection by (1) undertaking legal analysis of under-enforced areas of the law and identifying the bases of the Attorney General's authority to enforce these legal requirements; (2) investigating suspected illegal conduct; and (3) litigating cases brought by the Attorney General and by and against state regulatory agencies. Through the seminar and fieldwork, students will become familiar with the role and authority of the New York State Attorney General and the means by which his office advances the public interest.
Students will be placed in one of seven Social Justice bureaus (honoring preferences to the extent possible): the Civil Rights Bureau (two students), the Environmental Protection Bureau (two students), the Labor Bureau (two students), Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau (two students), Charities (one student), the Tobacco Compliance Bureau (one student), and the Health Care Bureau (one student). The bureaus will assign work to externs, which will include at least one investigation or litigation for practical experience in how to build and prosecute a case as a government attorney. See below for descriptions of the seven bureaus.
Applications for this externship are being received online and must be received no later than 5pm on Monday, April 7, 2014. To apply, please click the below link (or copy and paste the link into your web browser); you will be taken directly to the OAG's online application system:
Please be prepared to submit the following: (1) a cover letter (include OAG Ref. No. VLS_CSJX_SPR_NYC_2014), describing your background, why you are interested in taking the externship, and your preferred bureau placement(s), (2) a resume, (3) transcript, (4) brief writing sample, and (5) a list of three references. Please note that enrollment is conditioned on an interview, followed by completion of an official Attorney General's office application form, confidentiality agreement, and emergency contact form, and a successful conflict check. Please note that students who enroll in the externship will not be permitted to withdraw from it, and that class attendance is mandatory and expected. For assistance with submitting your application, please contact the OAG's Legal Recruitment Bureau via email at [email protected] or phone at 212-416-8080. For any questions regarding the externship, you may also contact Andrew Elmore and Monica Wagner at [email protected] and [email protected].
The bureaus in the Social Justice and Economic Divisions in which students are placed are (more detail is available at www.ag.ny.gov) :
- The Civil Rights Bureau enforces laws protecting New Yorkers from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, source of income or disability. The Bureau investigates and prosecutes alleged patterns of unlawful discrimination in a variety of areas. The Bureau also engages in community outreach activities to educate the public about civil rights issues.
- The Environmental Protection Bureau plays a central role in protecting New York's environment and public health, enforcing a zero tolerance policy against environmental threats in New York that imperil air, water, and land. The Bureau vigorously enforces both state and federal environmental laws, and is a national leader in the fight to reverse climate change. It also represents the state in legal matters related to the environment.
- The Labor Bureau has been nationally recognized for defending labor standards in low-wage industries by aggressively enforcing the laws protecting low-wage workers, often through collaborations with community-based organizations, labor unions, and others. The Labor Bureau investigates violations of minimum wage, overtime, prevailing wage, and other critical labor laws, and brings civil and criminal prosecutions against employers who are found in violation.
- The Tobacco Compliance Bureau is responsible for enforcing and monitoring compliance with the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement ("MSA") between major tobacco companies and Attorneys General from 52 states and jurisdictions. Enforcement focuses on guaranteeing that the tobacco companies are not violating the MSA’s prohibitions regarding advertising and/or marketing as well as ensuring compliance with the tobacco companies' monetary obligations under it and New York's related laws. In addition, the Bureau is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of state and federal laws and policies relating to cigarettes.
- The Health Care Bureau safeguards the rights of health care consumers statewide through investigation of and enforcement actions against insurers, providers, drug companies and other individuals and entities that engage in fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, or illegal practices in the health care market. The Bureau provides information and assistance to thousands of New Yorkers annually, including resolution of individual consumer health-related complaints. The Health Care Bureau also educates New Yorkers about the rights and protections they have available to them under health and consumer protection laws. In addition, the Bureau advocates for legislation and policy initiatives.
- The Charities Bureau is responsible for supervising charitable organizations to protect donors and beneficiaries of those charities from unscrupulous practices in the solicitation and management of charitable assets. The Bureau also supervises the activity of foundations and other charities to ensure that their funds and other property devoted to charitable purposes are properly used, and protects the public interest in charitable gifts and bequests contained in wills and trust agreements.
- The Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection takes enforcement action against businesses and individuals engaged in repeated or persistent fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or illegal trade practices. The Bureau seeks to ensure a fair and vigorous market place and to identify emerging consumer problems and issues. In addition to investigating and litigating matters involving consumer protection concerns, the Bureau oversees a voluntary mediation program that successfully resolves thousands of complaints each year from individual consumers.