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Student Initiated Programs

Criminal Law Association

The Criminal Law Association was established by students in September 2010 to educate and inform members and the Vanderbilt Law community about issues surrounding criminal law, criminal procedure and the justice system at the state, federal and international levels. Christopher Slobogin is the organization's faculty advisor, and the 2018-19 president is Molly Reed. The 2019-20 president will be Molly Mugford.

In October, the Criminal Law Association hosted a Federal Public Defender, Kelley Henry, who spoke about the recent trial challenging lethal injection protocol in Tennessee.

In January, the CLA hosted the Annual Criminal Law Career Panel with speakers Ron Small, Federal Public Defender; Georgia Sims, Nashville Public Defender; Ben Raybin, criminal defense attorney; Roger Moore, Nashville Assistant DA; Ben Schrader, Assistant US Attorney; Professor Suvall, Assistant Clinical Professor at Vanderbilt University Law School.

In March, the CLA, with Law Students for Social Justice, hosted a talk by Randall Mills, Innocence Project Exoneree.

Law Students for Social Justice

Law Students for Social Justice is working to connect Vanderbilt students with Tennessee’s incarcerated populations, create opportunities for legal research in the prisoner rights field, and serve prison communities through campus book drives and education programs. Terry Maroney is the organization's faculty advisor, and the 2017-18 president is Alana Seixas.

Student-run Activities

Vanderbilt Law students have opportunities to support volunteer initiatives such as:

  • Mentoring high school students empowered to sentence minor juvenile offenders through a restorative justice-based process that involves a “hearing” with opening and closing statements and witness testimony in conjunction with Nashville’s Youth Court program
  • Teaching in basic legal education programs aimed at homeless, formerly incarcerated and other vulnerable populations
  • Screening clients for legal assistance needs at a clinic run by Vanderbilt medical students that serves indigent patients

Student organizations also bring informational speakers to campus to discuss all aspects of criminal law. Speakers have included state and federal defenders and prosecutors, judges, wrongly convicted exonerees, criminal defense lawyers, and scholars and public officials with expertise in all areas of criminal justice.

See Activities for fuller descriptions of recent events.