Civil Liberties and Transparency Clinic

The Civil Liberties and Transparency Clinic defends individual civil rights—particularly free speech, privacy, due process, and non-discrimination—and presses for greater transparency in government through litigation and other legal advocacy. 

The clinic’s main focus areas currently include:

  • Law enforcement uses of technology, surveillance, and digital civil liberties.
  • National security, military and veterans' issues.
  • Supporting investigative journalism and promoting open and accountable government.

The clinic represents a range of clients that include grassroots, regional or national advocacy organizations; investigative journalists and news organizations; and individual victims of civil rights violations. For example, the clinic has worked on behalf of organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union/New York Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, and the Vietnam Veterans of America.

Student Engagement:

Students attorneys in the clinic will take the lead on all aspects of the clinic’s work on behalf of our clients.  Students get first-chair experience practicing law in real cases under the guidance and close supervision of clinical professor Jonathan Manes.  At the same time, clinic students have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge legal issues and to make a positive impact in the community.

Student attorneys typically work on a mix of litigation in federal or state court, administrative practice before government agencies, and non-litigation advocacy including drafting white papers or researching policy proposals.  Students can expect to develop a range of bread-and-butter lawyering skills, including interviewing and advising clients, crafting new litigation, making strategic judgments, engaging in pre-trial discovery, drafting substantive briefs, conducting negotiations, and appearing at court hearings.  The clinic seminar will cover a mix of lawyering skills, legal ethics, substantive law, and topical issues that are relevant to the clinic’s casework.

The clinic is a one-semester commitment, but students are welcome and encouraged to continue as advanced students in subsequent semesters, earning between 2 and 4 credits.  The clinic counts toward the course requirements of the Intellectual Property and Privacy Law Concentration.