Joanne Gottesman is the new Clinical Director for Rutgers Law School in Camden and works closely with the professors supervising the campus’s seven clinics. She oversees the Immigrant Justice Clinic, which has been working to provide legal services for immigrant children in foster care. Gottesman said she’s looking forward to her new position.
“When you walk down the clinic hallway there is always something new and exciting happening and the students are right at the forefront of those experiences,” she said. “I am proud of how our clinics have grown under Professor Victoria Chase’s leadership and how we continue to grow and change, particularly through partnerships with faculty colleagues and with organizations in our community.”
Gottesman listed some of the clinic initiatives coming up in the fall of 2019, including Professor Traci Overton launching a new project to assist veterans through the Civil Practice Clinic. Also, Professor Chase is expanding her appellate work in the Domestic Violence Clinic. In the Children’s Justice Clinic, Professor Sandra Simkins, “continues the fast-paced litigation of representing youth who have been arrested and face charges in delinquency court in addition to visiting youth who have been placed in facilities throughout New Jersey.” Professor Meredith Schalick’s Child and Family Advocacy Clinic continues to represent children from infancy to young adulthood in family court and disability cases.
Gottesman said she believes getting clinical experience is a valuable opportunity for Rutgers Law students, “Because of the responsibility students are given, clinics provide a critical opportunity for students to fully engage in the lawyering role. Few jobs, internships, or classes allow students to work on all aspects of a client’s matter – including making strategic and ethical decisions.”
Prior to working as a professor at Rutgers Law, Gottesman spent several years practicing in the Civil Division of the Legal Aid Society of New York and she also clerked for a federal judge in Philadelphia. She said she was drawn to working as a clinic professor because of her own experiences in law school. “After being that quiet student in the back row of many of my classes, I stood up in a courtroom and successfully represented a client in an appeal of her parole denial. I quite literally found my voice as a lawyer in clinic,” she recalled. “I was so excited to have the opportunity to come to Rutgers – and to hopefully help my students have their own transformative experiences in clinic.”
Besides giving students valuable experience, Rutgers Law clinics give back to the greater community by providing free legal services to some of the most vulnerable populations. Gottesman said, “Our clinics help fill critical needs for legal services in our communities and engage in national and local advocacy. In addition to serving Camden residents, many of our clinics also represent clients in more rural parts of South Jersey. There is no shortage of work to be done!”
She graduated from Wesleyan University. She received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a James Kent Scholar. Before attending law school, Professor Gottesman spent three years working and studying in China.