Find out why our clinical program is among the top 20 nationally. And then discover why that ranking only vaguely approximates the true value of your clinical experience.
Recent Clinic News and Victories
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have repealed or do not impose sales tax on menstrual products.
LPA Clinic Partners with Period Equity to Rescind Tax on Menstrual Products
The Legislative and Policy Advocacy Clinic, under the supervision of Elizabeth Cooper, is partnering with Period Equity, a law and policy organization that seeks to ensure menstrual products are affordable, safe and available to those in need. The organization's first priority is to repeal the sales tax on such products, still imposed by 34 states.
On September 20-22, 2019 Period Equity launched its first ever Tampon Tax LAB (Legal Action Brainstorm), bringing together legal experts in constitutional, tax, and sex discrimination law, and state and local grassroots advocates from across the country. The three day event -- co-hosted by Columbia Law School Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, and sponsored by the period product company LOLA -- focused on litigation, legislative and public engagement strategies to eliminate the sales tax in the remaining 34 states.
Fordham Law School's Legislative and Policy Advocacy Clinic students, from left to right, Lindsey Rosenthal '20, Suzanne Herman '21, Mary Kate Ciunningham '20, Stephanie Ali '20, and Alessandra Maldonado '20, presented their extensive research at the conference, focusing on developing model legislation that can be used to eliminate the tampon tax nationwide. We will keep you posted.
Stacey J. Rappaport '96, Clinic Alumna, Making the World a Better Place
Stacey Rappaport was in Fordham's Federal Litigation Clinic when it was led by Professor James Cohen in 1995-96. She and a team of other clinic students relished their experience in getting an innocent man released from a wrongful criminal sentence. In Stacey's own words, "Being able to bring true justice to someone -- those memories are burned in my mind." Another former clinic client, whose fundamentally unfair treatment while incarcerated for a crime committed during his youth, astounded Stacey even as a student, wrote a grateful letter to Professor Cohen about Stacey and her teammates. He called them "The Real Dream Team." The team secured his release under habeas corpus. See excerpt below:
"For more than eight years that I have worked with groups of students at the Fordham Clinic, the work of each group has been excellent. But this particular group of students (1995 - 96) is especially noteworthy for having deciphered a complex web of facts, applying the correct legal principles and successfully litigating a CPLR Article 78 proceeding, defending a motion to dismiss a federal civil rights action, and amending the civil rights complaint. I have not forgotten either that several of these students assisted me in other matters by making phone calls to clerks' offices and providing me with materials that enhanced my continuing legal education. These students have fulfilled their attorney-client obligations and then some. Their patience, kindness, and generosity of time and effort will always remain with me."
Stacey carried that desire to see justice done into her career at Milbank and beyond; she is now on the board of Lincoln Square Legal Services, Inc. the not-for profit legal arm of the Fordham Clinic. "I'm really proud to give back," she says. Learn more about Stacey Rappaport here.
Fordham Clinic Alumni Become Clinical Teachers Across the Country
Law clinic alumni, inspired by their clinical experience and the professors who supervised them, have gone on to become clinical professors, founders, and directors themselves. "The fact that there are so many (we've caught up with 14), is a testament to the strength of the clinical faculty, students and program," says Professor Michael W. Martin '92, the current Clinical Director and Associate Dean for Experiential Education, himself an alum of the former Litigation Skills Clinic (now known as the Federal Litigation Clinic).
In his role in the Federal Litigation Clinic, Martin helps students hone their interviewing skills, perform multifacted legal research, develop case theories, and engage in counseling and negotiation. In 2018, he and his students claimed victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit with a favorable ruling in a housing discrimination case. "Ian Weinstein and Beth Schwartz were pivotal in my decision to become a clinical professor. Their love of their students, clients and job was palpable," said Martin.
Below are a few of the Fordham Clinic Alumni and where they are now.
Carmen Huertas-Noble '02 - Professor and founding director of CUNY Law's Communicty and Economic Development Clinic.
Gowri Krishna '06 - Associate Professor, leads the Nonprofit and Small Business Clinic at New York School of Law.
Sarah Lorr '10 - Deputy Director of the Disability and Civil Rights Clinic at Brooklyn School of Law.
Katy Clemens '06 - Professor, co-supervises the Bob Parsons Veterans Advocacy Clinic at the University of Baltimore Law School.
Zohra Ahmed '13 - Clinical Teaching Fellow in the Cornell Center of the Death Penalty; co-teaches the International Human Rights Policy Advocacy Clinic at Cornell Law School.
Aya Fujimura-Fanselow '04 - Supervising Attorney of Duke's Law School's International Human Rights Clinic.
Jesse Loper '09 - Clinical Fellow in the Community and Economic Development Clinic at University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
Michael Haber '05 - Supervising Attorney of the Community and Economic Development Clinic at Hofstra Law School.
Christine Lazaro '02 - Professor and Director of the Securities Arbitration Clinic at St. John's University School of Law.
Federal Tax Clinic Outsmarts the IRS
The Tax Clinic recently had another victory for one of its clients, that is, if you call reducing a tax debt from $36,000 to $8,000, a victory. And we do! An elderly client's shares in an international corporation were converted to shares in another international corporation after a corporate restructure. The client was given $50,000 in cash in addition to an on-paper "gain' of $174,000 in converted shares. He came to the Tax Clinic to see if his $5,000 penalty could be reduced because he had not yet paid any tax on this since 2016 when it was due.
Clinic Students Andrew Snyder '20, Lina Zhu '20 and Irene Xu '20 researched secs. 354 and 356 of the Tax Code and discovered that the client did not have to pay tax on the gain realized through the shares because no money was involved. The IRS replied with another section of the code, claiming that conversion of shares in a domestic corporation invalidated the argument. The students responded that both corporations -- prior to restructure and post restructure were international companies and exempt from taxes. The tax burden was reduced and the penalty eliminated.
Poverty, Tax and Justice Clinic Amends New York State Tax Law with Poverty Exception
... and wins "Honorable Mention" award for Excellence in a Special Project from CLEA (Clinical Legal Education Association).
Over 24,000 New Yorkers have suspended driver's licenses because they owe $10,000 or more in past due taxes. The new Poverty, Tax and Justice Clinic worked to amend the law that allows the suspension, NYS Tax Law §171-v, to carve out a hardship exception for those taxpayers who are too poor to pay their taxes. On Sunday, March 31, 2019, the bill was signed into law by the NYS Legislature and Governor Cuomo.
The clinic is a collaboration between the Federal Tax Clinic, under the supervision of Professor Elizabeth Maresca, and the Legislative and Policy Advocacy Clinic, under the supervision of Professor Elizabeth Cooper. Learn more.
From left to right: Prof. Elizabeth Cooper, Rachel Smith, Daria Schieferstein, Jessie Boas, Elaina Aquila, Gaby Kornblau, Sam Zuckerman, and Prof. Elizabeth Maresca.
Immigrant Rights Clinic Secures Guardianship and the Path to Legal Status for Two Young Clients from El Salvador
The clients -- 17 and 11 year old boys -- are brothers who were neglected and abandoned by their parents. After years of suffering, the boys came to the United States to be with an individual who could properly care for them. The Nassau Family Court found that reunification with their parents in El Salvador was not in their best interest and their guardian was found to be providing a stable home for them and adequately providing for all their needs. The Clinic can now move forward in assisting the boys to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and having the deportation proceedings pending against them terminated. Clinic students Emily Allen '19 and Molly Greathead '19 worked on this case.
One of The Biggest Hurdles in Data Breach Crimes is Identifying the Hacker
In the recent Capital One data breach case, the U.S. Attorney's office cleared a major hurdle by bringing the defendant into custody. This is rare because alleged culprits of cybercrimes usually are not in U.S.'s jurisdiction. Prosecuting data breach cases also requires tracking and preserving digital evidence in a manner that complies with the rules of evidence, says Professor Cheryl Bader, co-director of the Criminal Defense Clinic. But she noted that prosecutors are improving their understanding of how to prosecute technology-intensive cases, and judges are interpreting the rules of evidence "so the underlying purpose of the rules, which is to foster reliability, can be applied to non-physical facts." Connecting the dots between actions and outcomes are paramount to proving data breach, as in Julian Assange's case or the recent hacking of Capital One's online data through a misconfiguration of the bank's third party cloud computing service.
However, connecting someone to a data breach can be difficult, because many hackers work diligently to make their work untraceable. "Often, one of the biggest obstacles to these cases is identifying the hacker because they try to keep their identities secret," Bader said. Learn more.
Lincoln Square Legal Services, the professional law firm run by the faculty of Fordham Law’s clinical program, has launched its new website. The site spotlights the practice areas of the School’s live-client clinics and the clinical faculty lawyers who supervise them. It highlights news about the firm and its advocacy for, and victories on behalf of, clients.
Lincoln Square Legal Services provides Fordham Law students with valuable legal training. Students participate in all aspects of the casework and are supervised by Fordham Law clinical faculty throughout their work.