The Eric Neisser Program has long been devoted to nurturing an ethic of service in our students. To that end, we have created partnerships with numerous local and national organizations through which our students can hone their legal skills while providing much needs access to justice. Our students work not only with clinics and faculty, but also with a broad range of community partners in providing law-related services, including the ACLU of New Jersey, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, the Education Law Center, and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
During Fall 2014, students revived the Morris Stern Bankruptcy Legal Assistance Pro Bono Project through which students partner with pro bono attorneys in representing clients in bankruptcy cases. In addition, in October 2014 we launched the LGBT Legal Assistance Pro Bono Project. Finally, our Street Law program continues to train students to provide law-related education to middle- and high- school students and to provide mentoring to young people in the New Youth Court Program.
Each year, the law school honors those students who exceed the requirement and notes their participation on their transcript. During the last two academic years, 60% of our students exceeded the 35 hours recommended by Rutgers Law.
AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION
Practice Areas: Civil Rights & Liberties/Racial Justice Issues, Constitutional Law/First Amendment, Criminal Law/Death Penalty, Gender/Sexuality, Immigration, Juvenile Issues, Legislative/Policy Issues, LGBTQ, Litigation, Non-Profit, Prisoner Rights, Reproductive Rights, Women
AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE
Practice Areas: Health Law/HIV-AIDS Issues, Immigration
ADVOCATES FOR CHILDREN OF NEW JERSEY
Practice Areas: Children’s Rights, Family Law
ACNJ is the state’s foremost child advocacy agency, assertively advancing policies that help children and families. The association’s advocacy has grown since its inception. While protecting abused children is a priority, ACNJ, over the years, has played a role in improving nearly every aspect of children’s health, safety and education.
CENTER FOR COLLABORATIVE CHANGE
Practice Areas: Children’s Rights, Civil Rights & Liberties/Racial Justice Issues, Community Economic Development, Consumer Protection/Debt/Bankruptcy, Employment/Labor, Environmental, Government/Regulatory Affairs, Health Law/HIV-AIDS Issues, Homelessness/Housing/Landlord-Tenant, Judicial/Judiciary, Legislative/Policy Issues, Municipal Law, Non-Profit, Nonprofit Management/Administration, Political Activity/Election Law, Public Benefits/Social Security, Real Estate/Land Use
The Center is committed to restoring trust between Newark’s decision-makers and residents, realigning them to be on the same team, and using the knowledge and resources of that alliance to establish a critical mass of reforms that will bring Newark to a tipping point where a positive cycle of health, abundance and opportunity can achieve momentum.
The Center is conducting a citywide community needs assessment which began in June 2009. Throughout the course of the academic year and over the summer, the Center will continue and deepen this needs assessment employing a variety of tools and techniques including community forums, focus groups, interviews with City officials, surveys, and community mapping. On the basis of our preliminary results, will also assume a slate of projects to develop policy and program solutions to pressing problems through our research, implementation, and evaluation processes.
Practice Areas: Children’s Rights, Homelessness/Housing/Landlord-Tenant
EASTERN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CENTER
Practice Areas: Administrative Law, Environmental, Government/Regulatory Affairs, Legislative/Policy Issues, Litigation, Non-Profit
EDUCATION LAW CENTER
Practice Areas: Civil Rights & Liberties/Racial Justice Issues, Education, Legislative/Policy Issues, Litigation
In addition to working extensively in NJ and NY, ELC also provides support for legal and policy advocacy in other states and has been invaluable in advancing the urgent need for school funding equity across the nation.
Through its Education Justice national program, ELC facilitates the only national network of attorneys and advocates working on school finance and other equity-related litigation through its website, message board and annual Litigators’ Workshop.
INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE PROJECT
Practice Areas: Academic, Civil Rights & Liberties/Racial Justice Issues, International Law/Human Rights, Legislative/Policy Issues, Women
Our activities center on supporting and assisting the representation of victims in the Darfur Situation before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The formal inclusion of victims in the trial proceedings at the ICC gives, for the first time, victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, the opportunity to actively participate in an international criminal trial. International Justice Project founders, Wanda M. Akin and Raymond M. Brown, represent the first victims recognized in the Darfur situation before the ICC, including four victims recognized to participate in the case against Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir, President of the Republic of Sudan. This achievement is the result of hundreds of interviews conducted by Akin, Brown, and the IJP staff, with Darfuris located in Europe, East Africa, and United States.
In addition to this main task, the International Justice Project is also involved in research and advocacy for the development of mechanisms to address the health and welfare of victims of atrocities. In this capacity, we have launched a new venture with the support of the Marilyn S. Broad Foundation in the fall of 2011, titled the Darfur Community Health and Reparations Project (HARP). The HARP-project will assess and document specific pressing medical and mental health needs in the Darfuri community. Specifically, it will conduct an audit to produce data on the specific types of harm from which the Darfuri refugee community is suffering as a result of the destruction of Darfur and the Diaspora of the Darfuri population around the world. Using this information, the HARP project hopes to galvanize public and private resources to provide assistance for Darfuri refugees in the U.S. and abroad, and to provide data for ongoing discussions on restorative justice mechanisms.
Finally, the IJP engages with decision-makers, academia and other members of civil society by giving lectures and talks and through participation in public discussions.
NEW JERSEY CITIZEN ACTION
Practice Areas: Civil Rights & Liberties/Racial Justice Issues, Consumer Protection/Debt/Bankruptcy, Employment/Labor, Family Law, Health Law/HIV-AIDS Issues
VOLUNTEER LAWYERS FOR JUSTICE
Practice Areas: Children’s Rights, Consumer Protection/Debt/Bankruptcy, Education, Family Law, Homelessness/Housing/Landlord-Tenant, Municipal Law
- Child Support Project
- City Bar Justice Center: Planning and Estates Law Project (PELP)
- Courtroom Advocates Program
- Consumer Project
- Election Reform Research Project
- International Refugee Assistance Project
- Access To Benefits Project
- LGBTQ Legal Assistance and Outreach Project
- Mentoring/Mock Trial Project
- Legal Observer Program
- Pro Se Divorce Project
- Reentry Project Restoration Project
- Street Law
- Honorable Morris Stern Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project
Students assist experienced matrimonial attorneys in providing community education about child support law. In addition, students assist with reviewing pleadings, preparing supplemental paperwork, and filing relevant motions in family court.
Student Director: Robert Galvan, ‘18
A program of the City Bar Justice Center, PELP provides assistance to low-income New Yorkers with personal planning, end of life and estate matters. Students volunteers assist the pro bono panel members with research and document production.
Students serve as advocates in Family Court for domestic violence victims. Under the supervision of Sanctuary for Families, students help victims draft and file petitions for Orders of Protection, educate them on their rights and safety precautions, and advocate for them during court appearances.
Student Director: Alvina Swati, ‘17
Students assist pro bono attorneys in providing legal advice and limited-scope representation to debtors in civil courts. Students assist with intake, client interviews, and drafting pleadings.
Students partner with judges to conduct research assistance for the Ohio-based Common Cause on topics including the following: analyzing structural elements of existing state restricting commissions; research topics relating to redistricting, and propose a new districting plan in conformity with relevant voting rights law.
Student Director: Peter Urmstrom,’17
Partnering with select nationwide law schools, the national office of IRAP, and pro bono attorneys, volunteers provide assistance refugee Iraqi and Syrian families seeking resettlement in the US. Student volunteers assist in preparing client interview questions and interviewing clients; submitting a Freedom of Information Act request; drafting affidavits; crafting case strategy; gathering supporting evidence; and conducting legal research.
Student Director: Abus Sami-Jamel, ‘17
Students and pro bono attorneys staff LiveHelp, an online, real-time chat service that will direct users toward relevant self-help materials, legal assistance organizations and court information. Volunteers will receive several hours of training on the LiveHelp software and in handling common questions using the resources on LawHelp.
The Access to Benefits (A2B) Helpline is a “one-stop” resource for New Yorkers in need of legal assistance with health, employment , government benefits, education law and immigration law matters. Rutgers volunteers work alongside Legal Aid Society staff to provide direct assistance and/or referrals in matters related to: immigration, health, employment, education law, and government benefits.
In collaboration with the NJ Community Research Initiative, the Rutgers University Office of Diversity
Affairs, and the Center for Gender and Sexuality and Law and Policy, the project provides weekly community education workshops and intake for the LGBTQ community. With generous Seed Grant funding from the Chancellor’s Office, the project the project will expand to develop model training materials, best practices, and conduct relevant scholarship research for a concurrent seminar in LGBTQ law.
Student Directors: Adam Herpolsheimber, ’18; Jamie DiNicola, ’18; and Karen Delgado, ‘18
Through a partnership with the NYC based Legal Outreach, Rutgers law students teach a law-related curriculum to Newark public high school students. year-long constitutional law debate program is a key part of Legal Outreach’s effort to inspire and prepare young people to go to college. Student coaches will establish a strong mentoring relationship with individual students through one-on-one tutoring and guidance.
Established by Arthur Kinoy in 1968, the Legal Observer program is part of a comprehensive system of legal express their political views as fully as possible without unconstitutional disruption or interference by the police and with the fewest possible consequences from the criminal justice system.
Student Director: Alaina Thomas, ‘17
Students partner with experienced matrimonial lawyers to provide legal advice and limited-scope representation to litigants who have more complex legal issues. Volunteers assist litigants with issues arising from the divorce process, including service, motions, default process, or consultations regarding mediation and settlement.
Student Director: Nilaja Ford, ‘17
Volunteer students partner with pro bono attorneys to provide assistance to re-entry clients in a variety of matters including expungement and drivers’ restoration. Students conduct interviews, draft motions, and appear pro se in municipal court under attorney supervision. Students assist in preparing client files and supplemental documents at VLJ’s office ahead of time.
Student Director: Tyler Dougherty, ‘18
Street Law trains law students to teach a law-related curriculum designed to empower youth and adults to become more active citizens. Among Street Law’s goals are educating the community about their legal rights and responsibilities and providing students with the opportunity to cultivate stronger legal research and presentation skills.
Student Director: Nathan Ford, ‘18
The Honorable Morris Stern Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project pairs students with volunteer attorneys to interview low-income clients and to prepare and file bankruptcy petitions.
This project is generously funded by the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation.