Information for Students

Human Rights Clinic students design and implement creative solutions to advance the global struggle for the protection of human rights. Students are assigned to work on a wide variety of innovative human rights projects to advance the human rights of marginalized individuals and communities. Clinic students prepare and conduct litigation before national and international judicial forums concerning human rights violations. They also engage in interdisciplinary empirical studies on the impact of human rights abuses—research that aims to achieve policy outcomes. Clinic projects frequently involve policy analysis and the drafting of statutes and standards to govern the conduct of state and non-state actors.

Students who enroll in the semester-long Human Rights Clinic work under the supervision of Roxanna Altholz, Clinic Director and Clinical Professor of Law; and Helen Kerwin, Supervising Attorney. The clinic benefits from the expert administrative support of Adelaida Caballero, Office Administrator; Olivia Layug Balbarin, Director of Administration, and Lauren Havey, Paralegal.

HRC students are required to enroll in the clinic as well as its companion seminar. The clinical component is four credits offered on a credit/no credit basis. In the clinical setting, students work in teams of 2-4 and devote approximately 16 hours per week to their projects (the actual number of hours may vary from week-to-week). Students meet with their assigned teams and faculty supervisor every week throughout the semester. Students may travel for their projects, including during school breaks.

The two-credit companion seminar offers a forum for exploring the links between legal theory and the students’ cases and projects. Co-taught by Professors Fletcher and Altholz, the seminar provides training on substantive human rights norms, exposes students to the various types of human rights work (e.g., monitoring, litigation, policy, legislation, research), encourages students to think critically about the goals and trade-offs of human rights methodologies, offers a structured context in which to reflect on the lawyering process, and provides students with the opportunity to present aspects of casework for group feedback and discussion.

Enrollment in the clinic (4 units) and seminar (2 units) is by faculty authorization only. Because of project demands, clinic students may not enroll concurrently in another clinic or field placement. Prior or concurrent enrollment in an international law course (e.g., International Law, International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law) is recommended but not required.