In the Harvard LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic (the “Clinic”), students work on cutting-edge issues involving LGBTQ+ rights, with a particular emphasis on issues affecting underrepresented communities within the LGBTQ+ community. Clinic offerings include local and national projects covering the spectrum of LGBTQ+ issues. Students will have the opportunity to engage in a range of work encompassing various strategies for advancing LGBTQ+ rights, including impact litigation, amicus work, and legislative and policy advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ+ clients.
Students work under the direct supervision of the Clinic Director, Alexander Chen.
Since the Clinic’s founding in 2020, it has embarked on an exciting slate of projects at the cutting-edge of LGBTQ+ advocacy. In partnership with prominent civil rights organizations, the Clinic is engaged in national federal impact litigation challenging the treatment of transgender people arrested during Black Lives Matter protests, LGBTQ+ and disabled people in homeless shelter systems, and the refusal of states to change the gender markers on transgender people’s identity documents.
The Clinic has filed amicus briefs challenging the Department of Health and Human Services’ attempt to rescind non-discrimination protections in the Affordable Care Act, and on behalf of senior former corrections officials attesting to the high risk of sexual assault experienced by transgender women in prisons, as well as regulatory comments opposing the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s attempt to allow temporary and emergency shelters to discriminate against transgender and gender nonconforming people by denying them access to single-sex shelters consistent with their gender identity.
The Clinic is also engaged in boundary-pushing work in the legislative and policy realms, including in the areas of intersex advocacy, and advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ+ people in non-traditional relationships, such as non-monogamous relationships. This summer, the Clinic published, in conjunction with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive national legal resource guide on the rights of transgender youth called the Trans Youth Handbook.
The through-line in all of the work the Clinic undertakes is a strong focus on what the Clinic believes is the future of LGBTQ+ advocacy: the issues that affect the most marginalized within our community, especially people of color and transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex people.
The Clinic is housed within the WilmerHale Legal Services Center (LSC), a general practice community law office in Jamaica Plain. LSC’s diverse clinics provide clinical instruction to second- and third-year law students and serve as a laboratory for the innovative delivery of legal services. Students are taught and mentored under the supervision and guidance of a clinical instructor in one of LSC’s clinical practices.
You can view past clinical placements and read evaluations from past clinical students in the Helios Org Search using this link.
How To Register
How To Register
The LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters. You can learn about the required clinical course component, clinical credits and the clinical registration process by reading the course catalog description and exploring the links in this section.