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Spring 2021 Clinic

Education Law Clinic: Legislative and Administrative Lawyering

Enrollment in this clinic will fulfill the HLS JD pro bono requirement.

Required Class Component: Systemic Advocacy for Safe and Supportive Schools (2 spring classroom credits). This clinic and course are bundled; your enrollment in this clinic will automatically enroll you in the required course.
Additional Co-/Pre-Requisites: None.
By Permission: No.
Add/Drop Deadline: November 27, 2020.
LLM Students: LLM students interested in this clinic should be in contact with the clinic directly.
Placement Site: HLS.

The Education Law Clinic is part of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI), a collaboration between HLS and Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC). TLPI’s mission is to ensure that all students succeed in school, including those traumatized by exposure to violence and other adverse childhood experiences, including experiences of racism and other forms of structural inequality. Students in this clinic will participate directly in TLPI’s ongoing multi-strategic advocacy campaign for safe and supportive schools in Massachusetts. Students will learn by doing state-level legislative and administrative lawyering work that furthers TLPI’s mission, with particular attention paid to elevating the voices of students, caregivers and educators in the law- and policy-making process. Specific activities will vary depending on the semester, but have included: meeting with members of the legislature, the education bureaucracy, and their staff; organizing a legislative briefing; preparing constituents to testify before legislative and/or administrative bodies; drafting and distributing media advisories, op-eds and press releases; communicating with and rallying constituents to advocate with their lawmakers; organizing an agenda for and participating in a coalition meeting; using branding and media as strategies for effectively conveying a message; using empirical research as part of an advocacy strategy; and drafting legislation. Students will have the opportunity to develop their writing skills by working on a variety of documents that are important in the law- and policy-making process; again, this will vary by semester but can include briefing materials, talking points, correspondence, communications to the media, and sometimes regulatory comments and draft legislation. Students will gain an understanding of roles that are critical to executing effectively a legislative and/or administrative campaign: strategist, policy researcher, legislative lawyer, lobby manager, outreach strategist, and communications director.

Please also note that students are required to schedule a substantial portion of their clinic office hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays because these are the days the Massachusetts legislature is typically in session. Beginning in the third week of the semester, students will be required to attend a one-hour weekly team meeting each Tuesday morning from 9:00-10:00 am.