Social Justice Lawyering Clinic
Taught by: Professor Jennifer Lee
The Social Justice Lawyering Clinic (SJLC) represents individual and organizations on critical issues affecting low-income individuals in the region, with a particular focus on low-wage workers and immigrants. Students offer pro bono legal representation on a range of legal issues, from workplace exploitation to the civil and constitutional rights of immigrants.
Clinic students litigate on behalf of clients in federal and state courts. They develop traditional lawyering skills, such as interviewing, counseling, research and legal analysis, negotiation and written and oral advocacy before the courts. Students also partner with organizations to work on policy and legislative reform efforts or community education efforts. This work provides students with the opportunity to learn skills associated with today’s diverse advocacy approaches to effectuate social justice.
“This was probably the most rewarding experience that I’ve had in law school. I had the opportunity to counsel an individual about the risk of deportation, and weighing this risk against the importance of asserting her legal rights to minimum and overtime wages.” Jody Lopez-Jacobs, ‘15
In recent semesters, clinic students have:
- Obtained back wages for construction workers, delivery drivers, home health care aides, and house cleaners.
- Testified at City Council about the prevalence of wage theft and the need for strengthened wage theft enforcement in Philadelphia.
- Conducted know your rights trainings on police harassment and wage theft for day laborers organizing with the Pennsylvania Workers’ Association.
- Published a report about the barriers faced by litigants with limited English proficiency in the magisterial district courts.
Social Justice Lawyering Clinic is 6 credits: 2 graded; 4 pass/fail. Enrollment is by application.
- Pa. Supreme Court should address ICE arrests at the courthouse
- Skit Written by Students to Discuss Philadelphia v. Sessions with New Sanctuary Movement’s Members
- Students Present on Non-Compete Agreements to the Office of the Attorney General
- Guest Post: Being a prepared and flexible advocate
- Are temp workers in danger? A Philly study says yes (Philadelphia Inquirer)
- Unmasking the Problem of Temporary Employment in Pennsylvania
- Help with DACA
- New Sanctuary Movement is rallying against Philly’s ‘Live Stop’ policy, in support of DACA (Generocity)
- Pa. small courts improve access to translators in criminal cases, still lag in other areas (Newsworks)
- Barriers persist for non-English speakers in Pennsylvania courts