Civil Liberties and Transparency Clinic

The Civil Liberties & Transparency Clinic defends free speech, privacy, and other individual rights while pressing for greater transparency and accountability in government.

The clinic conducts litigation and policy advocacy to achieve systemic improvements in the law and to support investigative work and accountability efforts by client organizations at the local, national, and international level.

Contact Us

Jonathan Manes, Director of the Civil Liberties and Transparency Clinic

University at Buffalo
School of Law
507 O'Brian Hall, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100


The Civil Liberties & Transparency Clinic is a 4-6 credit, semester-long course. Students are strongly encouraged, though not required, to enroll in the clinic for  more than one semester. Advanced students have the option of enrolling for a variable number of credits.

Student attorneys in the clinic learn to practice law by actually engaging in the practice of law. You will be in the “first chair” role whenever possible, doing the work that a lawyer in practice would undertake, except with the benefit of close, supportive guidance and feedback from the clinic’s faculty director.

Each student will typically be assigned to two cases, usually a combination of at least one case that is in active litigation and another matter that involves opportunities for non-litigation lawyering, such as practice before an administrative agency, preparing policy research or reports, or media advocacy. You will have input into case assignments and will work in teams of between two and four students on each case.

Through your work representing clients, you will learn a wide variety of bread-and-butter lawyering skills including:

  • Building and maintaining client relationships
  • Crafting a compelling theory of your case
  • Developing complex federal and state litigation
  • Drafting excellent pleadings, legal briefs, memos, and other documents
  • Conducting negotiations on your client’s behalf
  • Arguing your case in court or in other fora
  • Exercising professional judgment and planning legal strategy

The required seminar focuses on lawyering skills, legal ethics, and relevant substantive law. It will also explore diverse ways that you can use your professional training as a lawyer to serve the public interest.