Civil Rights & Transparency Clinic

The Civil Rights and Transparency Clinic is a litigation clinic focused on civil rights and civil liberties, spanning constitutional liberties like free speech, privacy, due process, and statutory civil rights against discrimination.

Our Cases: These cases are representative of the clinic’s docket.

  • Legal name changes for transgender clients.
  • A state appeal to overturn trial court precedent in a housing discrimination case involving voucher discrimination.
  • An administrative comment to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in support of a proposed rule to reduce housing segregation.
  • Litigation to enforce freedom of information requests, such as requests for the government to release accurate statistics on suicides in local jails.  

Our Clients:  We represent a range of clients that include individual victims of civil rights violations; investigative journalists and news organizations; and grassroots, regional and national advocacy organizations. Past clients include the New York Civil Liberties UnionInvestigative PostHousing Opportunities Made Equal, and Partnership for the Public Good.

two smiling young adults sitting in WUFO's studeo.

Third year law student attorneys Giovanni Gaglianese and Qui’Essence Harris discuss housing segregation on WUFO AM radio.

Clinic Questions?

Contact Heather Abraham at

Make a Gift

Civil Rights and Transparency Clinic Fund (to support the work of our Clinic)

Student Engagement: This clinic is designed for student attorneys to grow into the attorneys they want to be. Our clinic offers invaluable hands-on experience practicing law, under the supportive supervision of clinical professors. Student attorneys can expect to learn critical lawyering skills to become practice ready (which are increasingly on the bar exam). They work on cutting-edge legal issues and make a positive difference. They walk away with more confidence, a better sense of their lawyering identity, and practical skills that an employer will value. Our student attorneys lead on all aspects of our client representations. They litigate in state and federal court and before agencies. An effective lawyer has a toolbox that includes more than litigation. They also engage in non-litigation advocacy like drafting white papers and policy proposals, presenting them to key decisionmakers.

Our Work:

Trans Rights Our Cases FOIL Resources News
click to watch the video "Know Your Rights: protecting Trans, Non Binary & Gender Non Conforming Students"

Recorded Presentation for Parents of Trans and Nonbinary Children

Know Your Rights: Protecting Trans, Non Binary & Gender Non Conforming Students - A video presentation for parents of trans & gender non-confirming children in schools.

NYCLU: Know-Your-Rights Guides for LGBTQIA+ Students

Pride Center of Western New York Transgender Youth Program
The Pride Center of Western New York Health Services provides LGBTQ+ support services, free and confidential HIV testing, STI screening and related services.

GLYS of WNY facilitates support groups for trans youth and parents and caregivers of trans youth.

BestSelf Safe Space
A trans-inclusionary drop-in protected place for homeless or temporarily displaced youth. Guests can get a hot meal, take a shower, wash their clothes, watch television and play video games.

Evergreen Health
Evergreen is a health care service center that provides gender-affirming care, as well as other specialty care (including sexual health care) and primary care in a trans-friendly environment.

Trans Lifeline’s Hotline
The Hotline is an anonymous and confidential peer support phone service run by trans people for trans and questioning peers. You can call if you need someone trans to talk to, even if you’re not in crisis or if you’re not sure you’re trans. It does not do nonconsensual active rescue (i.e., does not call 911, emergency services, or law enforcement).

  • US: (877) 564-8860
  • Canada: (877) 330 -6366

The Trevor Project Crisis and Suicide Prevention Hotline for LGBTQ+ youth
In very specific instances of abuse or a clear concern of an in-progress or imminent suicide, Trevor counselors may need to contact a child welfare agency or emergency service. You can access it by online chat, call, or text.

Q Chat Space
A chat-based online community space for LGBTQ+ teens.