Legal Clinic News

Dean Chris Guthrie joins with deans of more than 40 U.S. law schools in support of AG Garland’s call to the legal community

Sep. 1, 2021—Law deans express a commitment to ensuring that families and individuals facing eviction have access to legal representation, counseling and assistance.

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Samantha Furman ’21 – Reflection: The Criminal Practice Clinic and Police Brutality

May. 24, 2021—From an early age, I have had mixed feelings about law enforcement. The fact is many police officers perform their jobs with dignity and pure intentions. I have always understood what police officers were supposed to represent: protection, dependability, and service to the community. However, from my vantage point, law enforcement rarely lived up to those promises...

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Equity, Diversity and Community Legal Clinic News


Clinic Alum Focus – Racial Justice Work

May. 24, 2021—Wesley Dozier ’19 (BA’16) is the Equal Justice Works Fellow at Just City in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. His work at Just City has adapted to the realities of practicing during a pandemic. “I felt like individual representation wasn’t as effective in changing what needs to be changed. Now, I’m doing a lot of coalition work with other actors in this space, partnering...

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Legal Clinic News


Transactional Lawyering for Black Lives

May. 24, 2021—During the fall 2020 semester, the Turner Family Community Enterprise Clinic collaborated with Law for Black Lives to explore ways of increasing Black land ownership and community wealth. Law for Black Lives is a network of legal advocates for Black Lives Matter and related social movements. Each semester the organization connects a cohort of law school clinics with community organizations to...

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Equity, Diversity and Community Legal Clinic News


Self-Care and Lawyering by Paula Davis

May. 24, 2021—Stress. Burnout. These words are all too familiar to both law students and legal professionals. People working in the legal profession need to develop insights into how these play out in their professional and personal lives to build the skill of resilience. I should know. I am a former lawyer myself, who “burned out” after practicing law...

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Legal Clinic News


Funmi Akinnawonu ’20 is the 2020 George Barrett Social Justice Fellow in the Jackson office of Mississippi Center for Justice

May. 24, 2021—Funmi Akinnawonu entered law school hoping to pursue a public interest career. Her experiences at Vanderbilt solidified her interest, particularly her experience in the law school’s Immigration Practice Clinic. “A clinic experience is helpful for everyone. Clinic work can be draining but it’s rewarding to actually know that the work that you’re doing is going to really help someone,” she said. In addition to...

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Equity, Diversity and Community Legal Clinic News


Faculty Spotlight – Meet Professor Jennifer Prusak, Director of the Housing Law Clinic

May. 24, 2021—In Spring 2021, Jennifer Prusak launched the new Housing Law Clinic at Vanderbilt. The clinic represents tenants facing eviction proceedings, advances Fair Housing Act claims on behalf of disabled clients, and advocates for affordable and accessible housing in Nashville. Prusak previously directed the Nonprofit Legal Clinic at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, a transactional clinic that she created and managed for six years. Before joining the clinical...

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Legal Clinic News


Jackson Hill ’22 – Race and Future Dangerousness in the Texas Death Penalty

May. 24, 2021—This semester I externed working on post-conviction relief in death penalty cases with the Office of Capital and Forensic Writs in Austin, Texas. This experience caused me to reflect on the concept and application of the “future dangerousness” doctrine in capital cases.   The United States death penalty system has always been racist, and this is especially apparent in the system’s...

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Equity, Diversity and Community Legal Clinic News


Housing Evictions During COVID-19

May. 24, 2021—In 2017, the Metro Government of Nashville and Davidson County found that nearly half of Nashville-area renters spent at least 30 percent of their monthly income on housing, and nearly a quarter of renters spent more than 50 percent of their income on housing. This gap between housing costs and renters’ ability to pay them has widened during the COVID-19 pandemic, both in...

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Equity, Diversity and Community Legal Clinic News


Cloe Anderson ’21 receives the Carl J. Ruskowski Clinical Legal Education Award

May. 24, 2021—Each year the clinic awards the Carl J. Ruskowski Clinical Legal Education award to the clinic student, who in her representation of clients in the law school’s clinical program, demonstrates excellence in the practice of law and best exemplifies the highest standards of the legal profession. This year the award goes to Cloe Anderson ‘21...

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Legal Clinic News


The Vanderbilt Legal Clinic Then and Now: Celebrating 50 Years of Providing Community-Based Advocacy and Lawyering

May. 24, 2021—This year marks Vanderbilt Legal Clinic’s 50th year of providing pro bono representation through its clinical faculty and student attorneys. The founding of VLC in 1971 by Junius Allison was grounded in community-centered lawyering. Allison was a lifelong advocate for indigent people. He joined Vanderbilt from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association where he...

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Legal Clinic News


Law students raise awareness on COVID-related discrimination by working to pass Nashville city resolution

Oct. 22, 2020—Amid stay-at-home orders and uncertainty over the availability of summer jobs, Cloe Anderson ’21, Grace Ko ’21 and Sarah Dvorak ’22 turned their concern into action. Working fully remotely with Professor Karla McKanders in the Immigration Practice Clinic, the students helped to pass Metro Council resolution RS 2020-433, which supports communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19....

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Equity, Diversity and Community Legal Clinic News


Community Enterprise Clinic represents clemency child trafficking advocate Cyntoia Brown-Long

Oct. 22, 2020—During spring and summer 2020, the Turner Family Community Enterprise Clinic represented human trafficking survivor and criminal justice reform advocate Cyntoia Brown-Long. After her case received national attention, Gov. Bill Haslam granted Brown-Long clemency in 2019 after she had served a 15-year sentence for killing a man who had paid to have sex with her...

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Legal Clinic News


Election Law: Should false speech in opposition to a political candidate be a crime?

Oct. 22, 2020—The Stanton Foundation First Amendment Clinic, representing Tennesseans for Sensible Election Laws, a nonprofit advocacy group, recently prevailed in a case that sought to declare unconstitutional a Tennessee election law that criminalized false speech in opposition to a political candidate. TSEL planned to distribute a mailer criticizing a state representative. Because statements in the mailer...

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Legal Clinic News


Providing advice and counsel to Tennessee’s essential workers during COVID-19

Oct. 22, 2020—In the summer of 2020, Assistant Dean for Public Interest Spring Miller launched a workers’ rights initiative in conjunction with the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services in response to the access to justice crisis for vulnerable Tennessee workers precipitated by the pandemic. This fall, six students are enrolled in the Worker Advocacy Practicum that grew...

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Equity, Diversity and Community Legal Clinic News


New Housing Law Clinic to target pandemic eviction crisis

Oct. 22, 2020—Jennifer Pruzak previously supervised the Tenant Assistance Project at the University of Indiana Maurer School of Law, where she also directed the Nonprofit Legal Clinic.

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Equity, Diversity and Community Legal Clinic News


Vanderbilt Legal Clinic: Advocating for justice, moving into action amidst COVID-19

Oct. 21, 2020—Through enrolling in the Vanderbilt Legal Clinic, students sharpen their legal skills and have an opportunity to put their commitment to public service into practice. From representing clients who could not otherwise afford a lawyer, to helping build businesses in under served communities, and beyond, students in each clinic work to help build a world...

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Legal Clinic News