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Spring 2023 Clinic

Education Law Clinic: Impact Litigation

Required Class Component: Students must have completed “Advanced Seminar: Systemic Change in Education” to be eligible to apply for this clinic.

Additional Co-/Pre-Requisites: None.
By Permission: Yes. Please contact Prof. Gregory for more information.
Add/Drop Deadline: December 2, 2023.
Placement Site: HLS.

This Clinic will build on the work of the Advanced Seminar: Systemic Change in Education taught by Professors Gregory and Rebell in Fall 2022, in which students explored the viability of litigation strategies for pursuing systemic change in public education. Students in the clinic will continue to develop and hone legal theories for establishing a state constitutional right to a meaningful democratic education, using the Youth Advocacy & Policy Lab’s (YLab) “Approaching System Change” model (including the components of problem identification, theories of change, remedy design, strategic and tactical options, and evaluation of results). Using state case studies produced as final projects for the Fall 2022 advanced seminar, the Clinic will identify 3 states in which to pursue state constitutional litigation. Working in teams of 2, students will engage in further research on each of the identified states, deepening the legal analysis, educational analysis, and community organizing analysis begun in the fall semester. Students will identify important education stakeholders in their assigned state, including student and parent organizing groups, professional associations, non-profit organizations, business leaders, government officials, and others, and they will arrange virtual meetings with these stakeholders to assess interest in joining a coalition to support the Clinic’s litigation. Students will travel to their assigned state with clinic faculty to convene a roundtable or summit of interested stakeholders, at which they will present the Clinic’s evolving legal theory and litigation model and involve stakeholders in remedy design and strategic planning. Growing out of the state summits, students will help to outline the contours of a stakeholder coalition to bring or support the litigation, which may include drafting “by-laws” or memoranda of understanding that establish procedures for coalition membership and decision-making. Working with these coalitions, students will help to identify potential local plaintiffs and to develop a plan for broad public engagement in the state to generate support for and involvement in the litigation. Using feedback and input from coalition members, students will participate in drafting initial versions of legal complaints that will ultimately be filed in state courts. Students will participate with clinic faculty in identifying local pro bono counsel in each state as partners to collaborate with in bringing the litigation. Finally, students will work with coalition members to identify other advocacy strategies that might parallel the litigation (possible legislation, local school district efforts, media strategy, etc.).