Rutgers Law School Clinic News_Fall 2022

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Rutgers Law Launches the New Jersey Innocence Project

WRONGFULLY CONVICTED INDIVIDUALS IN NEW Jersey now have a dedicated organization committed entirely to innocence work in the state.

According to the most recent statistics, between 2 and 10 percent of our nation’s incarcerated persons have been wrongfully convicted. This means there are hundreds to thousands of wrongfully incarcerated people, at a minimum, serving time in New Jersey’s prisons. But thanks to a new effort at Rutgers University, lawyers and law students alike will have the network and resources available to begin to right that wrong.

The New Jersey Innocence Project (NJIP), housed in Rutgers Law School’s Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic, will fill an urgent need in the state. Until now, New Jersey has been the only state without an innocence organization associated with the nationwide Innocence Network, a non-profit group committed to exonerating wrongfully incarcerated individuals, improving case law, and advancing justice system reform.

What sets Rutgers’ Innocence Project apart from those in most other states is that it is interdisciplinary, harnessing expertise from not just the Law School, but also from across the university. For example, the Rutgers Crime Lab Unit has been tapped to review evidence and evidence collection and retention policies; Rutgers School of Criminal Justice scholars will help with investigations and conduct research to support legal and legislative reform; and Rutgers School of Social Work students and faculty will help connect clients and families with resources

related to re-entry into the community, whether it’s finding a place to live, enrolling in job training, or securing counseling.

“Trying to exonerate or free someone who has been wrongfully convicted—and supporting that person regardless of the outcome—is a torturously long and complicated process that poses legal, factual, technical, and personal/ emotional challenges,” says Jill Friedman, Associate Dean for Pro Bono and Public Interest. “Basing the New Jersey Innocence Project at Rutgers allows us to draw on the rich resources of the university to meet the forensic, social work, and investigative needs of our clients in addition to steering the legal and policy processes. Our program is interdisciplinary by design: to serve clients, solve problems collaboratively from multiple perspectives, and provide training and experience to students in all the respective disciplines represented in the Project.”

Program Plans and Goals

Work at NJIP is expected to begin this fall; however, it won’t be the first innocence effort at Rutgers Law School. The Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic has a strong history of exonerating and releasing wrongfully convicted individuals, albeit in a limited capacity and on a case by case basis. The formation of the New Jersey Innocence Project will exponentially increase Rutgers’ capacity to serve this population, thanks to funding for a dedicated managing attorney and paralegal, the expansion of the Clinic onto both Newark and Camden campuses, and the creation of a practicum course that will interface with NJIP case work.

The New Jersey Innocence Project will also benefit from its affiliation with the nationwide Network, affording Rutgers access to a rich cohort of scholars and professionals dedicated to innocence work as well as an annual conference.

The fact that New Jersey has a statewide conviction review unit is yet another unique benefit to the Project—most other states have several local review units, scattered across individual county prosecutors’ offices. “It is our hope that since New Jersey has a centralized statewide conviction review unit, and we will have a new statewide Innocence Project housed at Rutgers, we can have focused and fruitful collaboration,” says Laura Cohen, Distinguished Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic, and Director

Rutgers Law Students Provide Assistance to Migrants in Tijuana

SINCE THE ONSET OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, the United States has implemented regulations intended to protect U.S. citizens. However, some of those regulations closed down the United States borders and forced those fleeing their countries from war and organized crime, to fight for refuge mere steps outside the U.S. border. Faced with an impossible choice, migrants in Tijuana must decide between risking their lives to enter the United States or staying in Mexico to face continuing racism, hostility, and lack of permanency.

This past May, Rutgers staff attorneys and students, in partnership with binational community organization Espacio Migrante, traveled to Tijuana to assist those migrants. The trip was organized by the Detention and Deportation Defense Initiative within the Immigrant Rights Clinic. Supervising Attorney Pina Cirillo and Staff Attorney Alejandra

Rutgers Duplicating and Mailing

Rutgers Law School 123 Washington Street Newark, New Jersey 07102

Chinea Vicente were the primary organizers, and they received on-the-ground assistance from Detention Fellows Medha Venugopal and Priscila Abraham. The trip was funded by the Clinic and generous donations from Duane Morris LLP in Newark, New Jersey, and from local attorney Cesar Estela.

Along with the attorneys, students Werdeh Hassan, Catalina Gaglioti, Erick Guerra, Juan Pacheco, Tebbie Fowler and Edianys Enriquez spent 5 days traveling to shelters across Tijuana providing Know Your Rights presentations, guiding migrants through the asylum application process, and providing insight into the developments on U.S. immigration law. Notably, the students presented in a shelter that housed about 3,000 individuals and at an exclusively LGBTQI+ shelter. For many, this experience not only provided practical experience in immigration law but also exposure to how U.S. immigration policies impact those

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Catalina Gaglioti (RLAW ’25) was one of six students who traveled to the US/Mexico border as part of the Detention and Deportation Defense Initiative. continued on page 6
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Nyssa Taylor is the Managing Attorney of the New Jersey Innocence Project.

A Letter from Rutgers Law School’s Clinical Leadership


WE WRITE IN A TIME OF TRANSITION, GROWTH, and great opportunity for our clinical program. We are invigorated by the energy we have witnessed in every one of our outstanding clinics at the start of the new academic year. The hallways of the law school buildings in Camden and Newark are vibrant again with students taking classes and participating in activities, and it is wonderful to see clinic students, faculty, and staff once again collaborating, in person, on the work that inspires them.

This past summer marked a major transition in Clinic leadership: after 20 years of mentoring new clinical teachers and strengthening and expanding the clinical programs in Newark as Associate Dean for Clinical Education, Professor Jon Dubin has returned to the faculty, and Professor Anjum (Anju) Gupta, having just finished a term as Vice Dean of the Newark location, has stepped into his shoes.

The two of us look forward to working together to further strengthen and build upon our collective 18 clinics across both locations in Camden and Newark. In addition to running their clinics, our renowned clinic faculty oversee several grant-funded projects, including projects aimed at providing representation to detained New Jersey immigrants, immigrant youth in foster care, tenants impacted by the pandemic, immigrant Rutgers students, young people incarcerated in juvenile prisons, low-income tax payers in their disputes with the IRS, New Jersey residents seeking to expunge their criminal records, and survivors of sexual violence seeking orders of protection. In addition, Professor Laura Cohen will launch a cross-location Innocence Project this year. As these grants have

dramatically increased our population of clinic staff attorneys and fellows, we have launched a new Clinical Pedagogy Series, led by Anju and Professor Randi Mandelbaum, to help inspire and train a new generation of clinicians.


Both locations are excited to welcome new visiting faculty for the 2022-2023 academic year. In Newark, Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor Greg Baltz directs the Housing Justice & Tenant Solidarity Clinic, joining us from NYU School of Law, where he was a legal fellow at the Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy and worked with both the Anti-Displacement Practice Area of CUNY’s Community & Economic Development Clinic and Columbia Law School’s Law, Power, and Social Change Externship. Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor Caryn Schreiber teaches in the Housing Advocacy Clinic in Camden after working as a staff attorney in the Civil Law Reform Unit of the Legal Aid Society of New York City, where she focused on housing law and policy during the Covid-19 pandemic, and in the Brooklyn Neighborhood and East New York offices, where she represented tenant groups throughout Brooklyn in affirmative litigation to improve housing conditions and prevent harassment and displacement. Caryn brings to Rutgers her experience supporting tenant groups seeking to build collective power and assert their rights outside of court.

We sadly will also bid farewell to Deputy Director of the Clinics in Newark, Distinguished Clinical Professor, and Clyde Ferguson Scholar, Robert (Bob) Holmes, who will be retiring at the end of the year. Bob served alongside Jon for 20 years and has been an extraordinary professional role model, mentor, and source of wisdom for all of us on so many levels. Bob’s professional

accomplishments are too numerous to name. He has broken countless barriers in his professional career, from serving as Newark’s first Community Development Administrator when Mayor Gibson was elected as the City’s first Black mayor, to serving as the second Black New Jersey state commissioner, to serving as the first Black partner in a major NJ law firm, to launching the first community development and transactional law clinic in NJ. Fittingly, the City of Newark has even declared a “Robert Holmes” day in recognition of his contributions to the Newark community.

In January 2023, Distinguished Clinical Professor and Annamay Sheppard Scholar Randi Mandelbaum will succeed Bob as Deputy Director of the Clinics in Newark, working alongside Anju.

Following the Rutgers Law School faculty’s overwhelming vote in 2021 to adopt a unitary tenure track for all clinical faculty, we have begun the voluntary transition to the tenure track. We are also in the process of hiring two new clinicians on the tenure track: a faculty member to succeed Bob Holmes in teaching in the Community & Transactional Lawyering Clinic, and a faculty member to direct to the Housing Justice and Tenant Solidarity Clinic, both in Newark.

This year, we’ve seen unparalleled demand for the clinics, and we are in the process of re-evaluating our enrollment policies and expanding our programs to ensure the greatest number of available clinic slots for new students. We look forward to another year of groundbreaking work, transforming lives, and working together to make great impacts on our communities in Camden, Newark, and beyond.

Associate Dean for Clinical Education in Newark, Anju Gupta, left, and Director of Clinical Programs in Camden, Joanne Gottesman, right.
Law Launches the New Jersey Innocence Project 1
Law Students Provide Assistance to Migrants in Tijuana 1 A Letter from Rutgers Law School’s Clinical Leadership 2
Law Professor Inducted into NJEJLA Circle of Honor 3 New Legal Clinics to Help Tenants and Recipients of Public Benefits 3
Service Professor Jon Dubin Reflects on Two Decades of Clinical Leadership 4
Rights Clinic Secures Release for New Jersey Residents from ICE Detention 5 International Human Rights Clinic Helps Human Trafficking Victims Get Back on Their Feet 6 Meet Our First Year Students 7 Clinical Faculty Publications 2021–2022 7 Meet the Inaugural Immigrant Rights Clinic Fellows 8 Law School Team Challenges Felony Disenfranchisement Laws 9 A Way Out for Incarcerated Minors 9 Housing Advocacy Clinic Continues to Innovate and Expand 10 START-UP AIMED AT COMBATTING INFANT MALNUTRITION SUPPORTED BY RLS CLINIC Nutrivide, a start-up by Rutgers alumni Akshay Kamath, CEO, and Joseph Bajor, CTO, aims to combat infant malnutrition and mortality. Its flagship product, the Nutrifier, is a pacifier that dispenses pre-dosed liquid nutrients and medication to infants. It offers a simple, convenient and reliable solution to the problem of liquid medication dosing mistakes that result in infant injuries and deaths. The Entrepreneurship Clinic has represented Nutrivide since 2017, helping them organize and navigate various legal concerns. REAL WORLD IMPACT

Rutgers Law Professor Inducted into NJEJLA Circle of Honor

PROFESSOR DOUGLAS S. EAKELEY, FOUNDER AND Co-Director of the Rutgers Center for Corporate Law and Governance, and Director of the Entrepreneurship Clinic, was inducted into the prestigious New Jersey Equal Justice Library and Archive (NJEJLA) Circle of Honor at the Legal Services of New Jersey 2022 Equal Justice Awards ceremony on June 19, 2022. The award is for his lifetime contri butions to equal justice for all including his service on the boards of Legal Services of New Jersey and the nationwide Legal Services Corporation.

He will also receive the Alan V. and Amy Lowenstein Social Justice Award at the 2022 New Jersey Institute for Social Justice Gala in the fall.

New Legal Clinics to Help Tenants and Recipients of Public Benefits


Newark has created two new clinics—the Housing Justice and Tenants’ Solidarity Clinic and the Economic Justice and Public Benefits Clinic—to better serve Clinic clients, particularly those in the greater Newark commu nity, and to better define clinical offerings for law students.

The two new Clinics will replace the former Civil Justice Clinic, co-taught by multiple faculty. Professor Jon Dubin will teach the public benefits portion, while the housing component is being taught by Visiting Assistant Professor Greg Baltz.

The new Housing Justice and Tenants’ Solidarity Clinic, which will be open to thirdyear law students, will teach law students to strategically employ law in support of organizing for housing justice. The Clinic will work in partnership with community-based organizations while representing individuals and groups of lower income clients confronting an array of housing justice issues. Clinical students will carry their own caseload of eviction defense and diversion matters while pursuing projects including facilitating collective action by tenant associations; helping tenants obtain safe and sanitary housing conditions; fighting unlawful rent increases; challenging housing discrimination; challenging the loss of affordable public and subsidized housing units; and securing the rights of persons and families encountering homelessness.

The Housing Justice component of the former Civil Justice Clinic worked diligently to halt evictions for New Jersey residents, particularly during the pandemic. In the spring of 2020, the Clinic urged the governor to impose a moratorium on evictions. Clinic faculty and their housing partners—Newarkbased housing activist Victor Monterrosa (RLAW ’15) and Nina DePalma (RLAW ’20) who started the Newark Housing Coalition—organized a “Twitterstorm,” calling on New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to institute a moratorium on evictions in the state. Sample tweets were sent out to community partners, clients, and members of the law school community. All of those involved began tweeting at the Governor at the same time. The next day, March 14, evictions in New Jersey were halted. The Clinic had also worked with housing advocates to

support various efforts that would provide rent relief to New Jersey residents.

In addition, the Clinic recently launched an Eviction Diversion Project with a $1.1 million state grant to address the potential flood of eviction proceedings due to the end of the eviction freeze necessitated by the COVID19 pandemic and the problem of large rental arrearages accumulated in that time period. This project will be subsumed within the new Housing Justice and Tenants’ Solidarity Clinic.

The Economic Justice and Public Benefits Clinic will represent lower-income clients and client groups in cases involving public benefits—principally the federal Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Disability Benefits programs. It will also take on some issues involving state public assistance cash-benefit social welfare programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other food/nutrition programs, and unemployment compensation. Additionally, the Clinic will pursue challenges to inequitable and excessive fines and fees and other practices undermining access to justice and the economic well-being of low-income persons and families.

Professor Dubin is an expert in Social Security Disability law and an author of several books on the topic and multiple law review articles cited by the U.S. Supreme Court. He teaches a classroom course in Social Security Law. He also created and teaches a course in Poverty Law to address economic and distributive justice in law more broadly and will address some issues in that course in the new

Clinic. He will lead third-year Clinic students in direct client service in formal federal court appeals, administrative hearings with crossexaminations of expert witnesses, many forms of less formal client work and administrative advocacy, and some projects pursuing broader law reform.

According to Professor Dubin, “The new Clinics reflect reorganizations and expansions of the existing Civil Justice Clinic to better reflect our Clinical representation of low-income clients in issues involving housing and other basic human needs and life necessities in these times, and to provide greater clarity for law students, clients and community partners alike of what we do and can do.”

Professor Baltz states, “Students engaged in the Housing Justice & Tenant Solidarity Clinic will have the opportunity to serve low-income New Jersey residents facing eviction, develop crucial practice skills they will employ throughout their careers, and come to understand lawyering’s place amidst the broader advocacy ecosystem fighting for housing justice.”

Both Clinics will work cooperatively with the Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic, directed by Professor Laura Cohen. A joint seminar for all three Clinics will instruct students in a full range of lawyering skills, including interviewing, counseling, developing case theory, cross-cultural competency, fact investigation, negotiation, witness examination and trial practice skills. The new Clinics went into effect in May 2022.


The Community and Transactional Lawyering Clinic drafted the ethics policy for members of the City of Newark’s Civilian Complaint Review Board. Students who worked on this project reviewed policies of Civilian Complaint Review Boards throughout the United States and drafted a policy unique to Newark. This ethics policy is the most rigorous in the nation and is a model for other boards around the country. The policy was written to help ensure that Board members maintained a high level of ethical behavior in order to maintain the trust of both the public and Newark’s police officers.

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Distinguished Professor of Professional Practice Douglas Eakeley

Distinguished Service Professor Jon Dubin Reflects on Two Decades of Clinical Leadership

a unified clinical program. Our transactional clinic director and clinic Deputy Director Bob Holmes drafted bylaws for decisionmaking and governance among all to secure collective buy-in, and we started to regularly meet for the first time and coordinate many aspects of operations such as common curricular and evaluation principles/protocols, enrollment management, student outreach and information, law office operations, ethical office systems, mechanisms for shared program and office space, and resources and allocation of staff. Much collaborative teaching, lawyering, and scholarship grew out of our new structure.

OVER HIS NEARLY 25 YEARS OF SERVICE TO Rutgers Law School, Associate Dean for Clinical Education Jon C. Dubin has amassed an impressive number of elite titles. He is a Rutgers University Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Alfred C. Clapp Scholar, Director of the Economic Justice & Public Benefits Clinic and, for the past 20 years, he served as Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Director of Clinical Programs.

Dubin is stepping down as Associate Dean this year and will return to the faculty and clinic after a one-year sabbatical. As he steps down, Dubin reflects on years gone by and his hopes for the future. Here, he reviews his extensive history with Rutgers Law, high points in his career, and what’s next as he opens this new chapter.

What made you first decide to come to Rutgers in 1999?

I was teaching and directing the clinical program at St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio, Texas, and was looking to move back to the northeast mostly for personal circumstances, all coalescing in 1998: a newborn son; the death of my mother-in-law in San Antonio, who lived alone and had needed assistance; and the illness of my parents in New York City, who were seeking connection with a new grandchild.

Among the schools with openings I considered, I was most interested in Rutgers–Newark because of its mission and history as an institution committed to true diversity and inclusion, social justice, public engagement and a long-established clinical program.

I had been the first tenured Black faculty member at St. Mary’s and the founder of its first in-house clinic; I knew that neither would be the case at Rutgers–Newark. And as a public interest attorney in New York City in the 1980s, I was well aware of its “People’s Electric Law School” reputation as the school of Arthur Kinoy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg [RBG], and several public interest lawyers I knew and really admired such as my senior ACLU colleague, Rutgers–Newark alumnus and former Minority Student Program (MSP) Dean Wade Henderson. I also had a few friends and colleagues here: Professor David Troutt interned with me as a law student when I was a junior attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF); MSP Dean Jan Robinson and I worked together at the Legal Aid Society; and I co-drafted a circuit brief in a police killing case with Professor Chuck Jones through the NCBL’s Racially Motivated Violence Committee. I had also worked on a class action

in Newark while at LDF and liked the city, and still had friends and colleagues in the Newark public interest legal community from that work.

Why did you agree to serve as Clinic Director and Associate Dean for Clinical Education in 2002?

Truth be told, I was quite reluctant to take on the position and it took me three years to commit. I was a “recovering clinical director,” having just served in that role for five years at St. Mary’s. I also knew that since Rutgers–Newark never had a clinical director before, a template for all office systems and many aspects of program operations would have to be developed from scratch, producing many changes in a 30-year-old program and some in the school as a whole—including issues involving the role and status of our non-tenure track clinical colleagues. I had a very enjoyable and exciting period during my first three years at Rutgers–Newark without the administrative duties of clinic deaning—co-counseling a social security disability case in the U.S. Supreme Court; immersing clinic students in work on a major Newark public housing/land use discrimination class action; drafting law review articles on the imperative of racial diversity/inclusion in clinical programs, and a (predicted) blueprint for clinical education in the new millennium (with Margaret Barry and Peter Joy); and doing national work in chairing the AALS [Association of American Law Schools] Poverty Law Section and serving on the Clinical Law Review Editorial Board, CLEA [Clinic Legal Education Association] Board, and AALS Clinical Section EC, all in that period.

But I was also strongly encouraged to take on the clinic leadership position by some of the senior clinical faculty right away, such as Nadine Taub, Frank Askin, and Jon Hyman, and then especially by Dean Stuart Deutsch. They impressed on me the importance of unifying and consolidating the separate and balkanized clinics into a coordinated program and law office, and the need for new ideas and (then)young (in their view), nationally engaged leadership for the program’s evolution and development. After three years, I agreed that someone really needed to do this, and I decided to give it a try.

What changes did you see in the clinical program or in the law school generally during your time as Associate Dean/Director of Clinics?

The clinical program did evolve from eight or nine fully separate clinical enterprises into

We also largely resolved issues of clinical faculty status, job security, and governance in phases, ultimately arriving at a unified tenure track. As a result, several clinical faculty became substantially more engaged in the life of the school and university as a whole. Some developed influential and groundbreaking programs and centers extending well beyond the Newark clinics, such as Laura Cohen’s Center on Criminal Justice, Youth Rights and Race with the School of Arts and Sciences-Newark; Jenny Valverde’s Health Education Advocacy and Law (HEAL) Collaborative with the Rutgers Medical, Public Health and Social Work schools; and Randi Mandelbaum’s Juvenile Immigrant Representation Project with Joanne Gottesman on the Camden campus and the NJ Department of Children and Families.

We also hired a terrific cadre of new, tenure track clinicians such as Anju Gupta, Alexis Karteron, and Norrinda Hayat, who become national leaders in the clinical community and helped energize our program in newer directions and in response to the emerging social justice challenges of these times.

In addition to all you have achieved at Rutgers, you have made a mark nationally. You have authored numerous books, you’re known as an expert on social security law and policy, your articles have been cited by multiple federal courts of appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, and you have won several state and national awards. What are some of your proudest accomplishments?

I’m really proud of many of the relatively less visible aspects of this work as a teacher and administrator. I still get chills watching students, including those who had struggled at some point, grow exponentially in their role representing clients and community groups in great need. It’s thrilling to witness those moments when students take responsibility and reflect a sense of identity in the role, while applying and improvising on the lessons and concepts we’ve been teaching. I’m not simply talking about obvious high profile events like powerful student oral arguments in formal federal court appeals or effective and deft cross examinations of expert witnesses at administrative hearings—although those are great!—but also rising to the challenges of less glamorous but essential lawyering functions such as sensitive and thorough counseling sessions with communicatively challenged clients on complex legal and functional issues, and informal yet prolonged negotiations with public benefit administrative agency personnel on issues of crucial economic survival for our clients.

I’m also very proud of the clinical program as a whole and the accomplishments of my colleagues as teachers, advocates, and scholars, and whatever roles I’ve played in trying to

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Immigrant Rights Clinic Secures Release for New Jersey Residents from ICE Detention

IN THE FACE OF NEW LEGAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL challenges, Rutgers Law students, graduates, faculty, and staff of the Immigrant Rights Clinic helped a noteworthy number of New Jersey residents get out of ICE detention in 2021.

Last year, Rutgers Law School’s Detention and Deportation Defense Initiative (Rutgers DDDI) helped 24 individuals secure release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention. Even more remarkable is the fact that they did so during a COVID-19 backlog that slowed the court’s gears, and amidst a large-scale shift in the ways in which ICE handles New Jersey’s detained immigrants.

In August 2021, Bill A5207, which bars private and public New Jersey facilities from signing contracts with ICE, was signed into law. Practically overnight, facilities in New Jersey that previously accepted ICE detainees no longer do so. “We applaud the nationwide advocacy to reduce the impact of ICE detention, and pressure state and county governments to stop profiting from the detention of their residents,” says Leena Khandwala, Managing Attorney at Rutgers DDDI “but ICE has a federal mandate that isn’t going away anytime soon, and this new law has made the process for our detained clients a lot more complicated.”

Previously, DDDI attorneys would find and assist clients in need by searching New Jersey’s weekly calendar of court appearances, meeting these individuals at a local jail, and representing them in court in person. Now that New Jersey jails are no longer accepting ICE detainees, individuals processed here are being sent to facilities across the US. “Now, we need them to find out about us and get in touch,” says Khandwala. “Access to counsel has been deeply impacted, as has our ability to proactively find potential clients in need.”

Despite these new challenges, DDDI worked tirelessly to file bond motions and petitions for habeas corpus, complete visa and asylum applications, file parole requests, and provide comprehensive legal assistance throughout entire immigration proceedings— often from states away. “Now that most of our clients are detained outside of New Jersey, we are forced to litigate these matters in a lot of different forums,” Khandwala says, “making the entire process that much harder and more complicated. We are representing our clients before Immigration Courts in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia and Cleveland, to name a few.”

More recently, Rutgers DDDI has expanded the scope of their work to include non-detained individuals facing removal, with a view to expanding access to legal representation for all low-income New Jersey immigrants. Within their non-detained clients, Rutgers DDDI has been prioritizing families who have been apprehended at a port of entry on or after May 28, 2021, placed in removal proceedings, and enrolled in Alternatives to Detention, as these individuals are placed on a more expedited docket before the Immigration Courts. The impact of the work, however, is immeasurable for the clients DDDI serves. Among those released in 2021 are mothers and fathers, victims of persecution, individuals struggling with mental health issues, abuse victims, and asylum seekers. They are breadwinners and caretakers. And their detention is earth-shaking for their families, especially as they can be held for years without due process while ICE finds interpreters, resolves criminal charges, and

corrects mistakes. “The impact of detention and being torn away from your family and loved ones is so, so harsh, and the ripple effects across communities are significant,” Khandwala says. “Some of these months-long detentions are a result of something completely minor like a traffic stop. That’s why release is our primary goal—so these individuals can return to their jobs and families.”

For example, DDDI represented a client in her long battle to become a United States citizen, after ICE sought to deport her for a minor mistake in the logistical planning of her visa entry when she was a teenager. Years later, a hardworking mother of two children, this client could not afford a private attorney. The client came across the radar of ICE after she applied for citizenship, passed the civics and language test, and was then told that she did not qualify for status and that she would be deported. DDDI Staff Attorney Alejandra Chinea Vicente filed a motion for a waiver of deportability before the immigration court, which was granted by the immigration judge. DDDI then requested a rescheduling of her naturalization interview before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. She was sworn in as a U.S. citizen earlier this year!


The important work at DDDI is also valuable for attorneys who want to step into the complicated world of deportation defense; this year alone, the Immigrant Rights Clinic hosted 12 student interns, eight clinic students, and two post-graduate fellows. “The clinic has, since its inception, provided invaluable handson experience for law students in deportation defense work, but we were thrilled last year to be able to start a post-graduate fellowship program to help train new lawyers as well [see page 8],” said Anju Gupta, Professor of Law and Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic. “I have had the wonderful and unique experience of appearing before the Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Southern District Court of Florida, the District of New Jersey, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, all within my first two years of graduating from law school,” says Priscila D. Abraham, RLAW’20 DDDI detention fellow. “The DDDI fellowship allowed me to provide expansive pro bono representation to indigent New Jersey residents detained across the country. I am convinced there was no better place for me to start my legal career.”


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Top photo: Top row, L-R: Kunal Sharma, Medha Venugopal, Leena Khandwala, Pina Cirillo, Alejandra Chinea Vicente; seated, L-R: Sylvia Santos, Priscila Abraham; Bottom photo: US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Elizabeth Detention Facility in New Jersey. The Immigrant Justice Clinic in Camden marks its 10th anniversary in the fall of 2022 and celebrated the recent naturalization of the first client that Clinic students ever assisted in obtaining Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. The Clinic helped this client throughout her journey from undocumented middle school student to lawful permanent resident to United States citizen—and voter!


outside the U.S. borders. Supervising Attorney Pina Cirillo said, “We heard heart-wrenching stories and saw countless tears, but I will never forget the glimmers of hope in both students’ and migrants’ eyes.”

“This week I witnessed firsthand how Black and brown people fleeing danger, just innocent families, are being so callously turned away at the border,” said Newark 3L Werdeh Hassan. “I saw how many of these rejected families would then go on to live in camps, shelters, or churches, with no running water or true place to call home, while they await officials’ decision regarding whether they are worthy enough to be saved. While absolutely heartbreaking, this experience left me feeling empowered and motivated to do more to confront racist immigration policies.”

For some students, like Catalina Gaglioti, a Newark 2LE, the trip marked a defining moment in their law school journey. “This experience provided the real-world application and understanding necessary to navigate humanitarian work. Seeing the devastating implications of racist US immigration policies first-hand, highlighted the importance of advocating for policy change.” Camden 3L

Detention and Deportation Defense Initiative students give “Know Your Rights” presentation at shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico.

Tebbie Fowler described the trip as “a lifechanging experience with a group of amazing people that I am honored to called my friends.”

While migrants continue to face difficulties as they flee harm in search for safety in the United States, there is hope that border policies will change. In the meantime, organizations like

International Human Rights Clinic Helps Human Trafficking Victims Get Back on Their Feet


School filed a test case after changing a law that will give countless human trafficking victims the opportunity to erase criminal records for crimes their traffickers forced them to commit.

Human trafficking survivors have no control over who they see, what they wear, or where they go. They are exploited for their traffickers’ financial gain and live under constant threat of injury or death. Many trafficked people are forced into prostitution or sex work. Others are forced to steal. Many trafficked individuals are forcefully injected with addictive drugs, like heroin, so that they become dependent on their traffickers.

Here in New Jersey, legislation was ahead of the curve, allowing trafficking victims to have prostitution-related convictions vacated if their crimes were committed while being trafficked. But it didn’t go far enough, says Penny Venetis, Distinguished Clinical Professor of Law and Director of Rutgers Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic. “Trafficking victims are forced to do anything and everything as long as it makes money for their trafficker,” she says. “There are so many other crimes that a trafficked person were convicted of that weren’t taken into account under New Jersey’s old law.”

The International Human Rights Clinic sprung into action. Along with its partners in the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking (NJCAHT), an organization that coordinates statewide efforts to end sex and labor trafficking in New Jersey, the Clinic helped introduce and pass a statute that expanded the vacatur law so that all crimes that trafficking victims were forced to commit can be permanently erased. They educated legislators on the need for an updated law, provided policy statements, and prepared testimony. Rutgers Law students had the opportunity to contribute by conducting research and amplifying the voices and stories of trafficked people.

On January 18, 2022, Governor Phil Murphy signed the new bill into law. It allows human trafficking survivors to have practically any crime vacated if they can prove it was a result of trafficking (with few exceptions for murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, sexual assault, and luring a minor). Since criminal records have historically prevented trafficking survivors from securing employment and safe housing, this change directly impacts countless victims who are trying to get back on their feet. “Allowing these convictions for trafficking


Espacio Migrante work tirelessly to assist those stuck at the border, providing not only access to legal knowledge, but also assistance with housing, medical and social service. To learn more about Espacio Migrante and to donate, visit

survivors to be vacated and expunged is a huge step in allowing people to lead as close to a normal life as they can, without having their past haunt them,” Venetis says.

This spring, the Clinic filed the first test case under the new law. A vacatur petition was filed on behalf of a woman who was trafficked by over five men for nearly 20 years, starting when she was 14 years old. In addition to prostitution convictions, the Clinic’s client had convictions stemming from her traffickers’ requiring her to steal jewelry and other valuables from patrons of Atlantic City casinos and resort areas around the country. If she did not give her traffickers thousands of dollars worth of goods every night, she was beaten, raped, and locked in a room with no food or clothing. The Clinic’s court submissions were so compelling that the State of New Jersey is not opposing their petition and has joined the Clinic in asking the court to vacate and expunge all of the Clinic’s clients’ convictions.

The Clinic is also helping lawyers in other states to draft petitions to vacate their clients convictions. The Clinic’s success in New Jersey is helping to expeditiously move those cases forward.

Working on this matter served as a significant learning opportunity for Rutgers Law students. “We worked with a large coalition that prepared students to collaborate with people across disciplines, from medical professionals to social workers to the victims themselves,” Venetis says. “It shows them that as lawyers and ambassadors of Rutgers Law, we can change the law and really make a difference in people’s lives.”

from page 1
The Child and Family Advocacy Clinic in Camden received a fully favorable decision in a case referred by the South Jersey Legal Services Private Attorney Involvement Program Children’s SSI Project. The administrative law judge found several severe and marked impairments and that the child has been under a disability since 2018 which will result in a substantial retroactive award. Clinic Director and Professor Meredith Schalick worked with several law students on this case.



ON THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY: When I decided to attend law school, the most important aspect I was seeking was community. I was looking for a welcoming community where I would not feel like just another student walking down the halls. At the end of the day, it is not the rank of a school or flashy advertising that would help me succeed, but the people. I was looking for professors that wanted to engage with me in and out of the classroom, students that greeted each other while walking to class, and an administration that listened to student concerns. That is exactly what I found at Rutgers Law’s Camden campus. I just felt Rutgers Law in Camden was where I was supposed to be. I walked on campus for a tour and was met with the kindness of students and faculty alike. It was nothing like I had experienced visiting other law schools.

ON HELPING OTHERS: I have spent many of my undergraduate jobs and internships in nonprofits working directly with people, helping them overcome whatever challenges they faced. While I’m not sure what area of law I want to plant my feet in once I graduate, I do know it will be in an area where I can make a direct change in people’s lives. The feeling of knowing you affected someone’s life today for the better is all I seek for my future career.

ON GIVING BACK: Long term, while not a career goal, I want to work with minority youth in high school and college who are interested in law school. I’m the first person in my family to attend law school, and I have seen many students and peers not being able to explore the idea of law. This is mainly because they have no guidance on how to apply to law school, what to do to financially support themselves, or all the options related to law. I want to be that voice of guidance for those who do not get support from legal professionals in the field in the same way some others might.


ON RUTGERS’ MISSION: I was looking for a law school with a diverse student body and one that put as much emphasis on social justice as it did on challenging students intellectually. It actually took me years to decide whether to transition to law school, and I only felt comfortable with such a transition once I discovered I could learn the law in an environment that promoted values of social, racial, and economic justice.

ON PUTTING HER SKILLS TO USE: I am interested in learning how my experiences as a labor organizer map onto what I will learn about the law—both its limitations and its possibilities. I am looking forward to applying what I learn in the classroom by participating in a clinic. I am hoping to do a summer internship at a government and/or regulatory agency because I want to know how public institutions can codify protections for working people.

ON THE FUTURE: At this point, I am more interested in working for the government than I am in being a movement lawyer or union/labor lawyer, but I am open to the possibilities of the latter! Partly, this is because of what I said above, but also because I am of the firm belief that the most effective way for workers and communities to build power is to organize with each other; no lawyer is going to be able to win for them what they aren’t already able to win for themselves, if they organize. Instead, workers and (marginalized) communities need public institutions that will codify protections, regulate corporations with undue influence and power, and punish bad actors.

Clinical Faculty Publica tions



n Resurrecting the Rent Strike Law, University of Pennsylvania JoUrnal of law & social change (forthcoming 2023)


n Reframing Family Law: Using Narratively-informed Lawyering to Build An Inclusive Curriculum, family coUrt review (forthcoming 2023) (with Ann Freedman)


n Forward - Prosecutors, Power, and Racial Justice: Building and Anti-Racist Prosecutorial System, 73 rUtgers l rev 1309 (2021)


n social secUrity Disability law anD the american labor market (2021)

n social secUrity law anD Practice in a nUtshell (2022) (with Frank S. Bloch)

n social secUrity Disability law anD ProceDUre in feDeral coUrt (2022) (with Carolyn A Kubitschek)

n Why Carr v. Saul Should Signal the End of Common Law Issue Exhaustion in Inquisitorial Proceedings, george mason law review (2022)


n Dismantling the Wall, michigan law review online (2022) (with Charles Shane Ellison)


n Heeding the Voices of Migrant Youth: The Need to Take Action, michigan law review (forthcoming 2023)

n Why Does the Federal Government Get a Pass? Applying Best Practices in Child Protection to the Circumstances of Migrant Children and Families, american University law review (2022)

n Release to Sponsor Approved, Now What?in Kids in Cages: The History, Politics, and Lived Experiences of Child Migrant Detention (Emily RuehsNavarro, Ph.D. and Lina Caswell, Eds., forthcoming 2023)


n Fiction 102 Create a Portal for Story Immersion, legal commUnication & rhetoric: JalwD (Fall 2021)

FALL 2022 7

Meet the Inaugural Immigrant Rights Clinic Fellows

RUTGERS LAW SCHOOL RECENTLY INITIATED A new fellowship in which two newly minted attorneys receive two years of intense training representing New Jersey residents detained across the country in court. Priscila D. Abraham and Medha Venugopal, the inaugural fellows, have both accepted positions as staff attorneys upon the completion of their fellowships this fall.

In 2018, Rutgers Law School’s Immigrant Rights Clinic received a grant from the State of New Jersey through the Detention and Deportation Defense Initiative (DDDI) to provide representation to detained immigrants in the state. Funding has increased significantly since then and, in 2020, the clinic expanded with the establishment of the Detention Fellowship. Under the supervision of clinic staff attorneys, they draft declarations, gather letters of support, conduct legal research, draft briefs, and represent their clients in hearings for immigration relief or release from detention.

“The idea was to ease each fellow into taking on a full caseload, to prepare them to hit the ground running as staff attorneys after the fellowship,” says Anju Gupta, Associate Dean for Clinical Education, Professor of Law and Judge Chester J. Straub Scholar, and Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic. “So far, it feels like we’ve been successful, as our first two fellows have not only enriched our own program but have accepted staff positions in immigrant representation work for when their fellowship ends this fall.”


Priscila D. Abraham became interested in immigration law through firsthand experience. The daughter of immigrants, she witnessed family and friends navigate the complicated and often scary process of removal proceedings and decided from the beginning to dedicate her career to helping this population. “I started doing some community organizing in college, and that’s where I was really exposed to immigration law and its impact on people’s lives,” she says. She came to Rutgers Law School with the intention of working in immigrants’ rights and worked in the clinic as a student before applying for the post-grad fellowship, hoping it would be the bridge she needed between graduating law school and working as a staff attorney.

Abraham was confident in her writing skills when she started her fellowship, but she needed to overcome personal fears related to speaking in court. “When working in immigration law, it is incredibly important to learn to be a strong oral advocate,” she says, adding that she’s grown to love appearing in court on behalf of her clients. “It was the level of training that I really needed,” she says, recalling hours spent

practicing with her mentors. “Now, I find myself providing mentorship to our interns, which is a major benefit of this structure—it allows for mentorship to continue.”

The skills Abraham honed during her fellowship have landed her a job as a staff attorney at the American Friends Service Committee’s detention program, one of four DDDI partners that serves the same client pool.

“Doctors have residency between graduating medical school and beginning their practice, but lawyers miss out on that in-between time,” she says. “The fellowship has provided the training I need to be the best lawyer I can be and provide the best advocacy for my clients. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”


to law school to help those who don’t have our resources as they navigate this complex process.”

After graduating from Rutgers University and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, Venugopal applied for Rutgers Law School’s Detention Fellowship to gain courtroom experience.

“The fellowship has provided the train ing I need to be the best lawyer I can be and provide the best advocacy for my clients. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

—Priscila D. Abraham, RLAW’20

“I was scared of public speaking, but it was not an option for me to sit back and have someone else do the talking,” she says. As a fellow, Venugopal gained significant experience working with clients, appearing in court, and even getting a client released from detention despite a few unfavorable facts. “Today, I love going to court,” she says, attributing her new passion to the mentorship she received as a fellow. “Everyone there helped me work on the type of cases I was most interested in and be a version of myself I didn’t think I’d be able to be.”


An immigrant herself, Medha Venugopal understands the frustration and anxiety that accompanies the path to citizenship in the United States. The Indian citizen immigrated from Dubai with her mother and sister in 2008. Since then, she’s changed her visa status three times, received a green card in 2014, and finally became an American citizen in 2021. “It was a really long process fraught with a lot of stress,” she says. “Even as a teenager, I recognized that we came here with the privileges of knowing the language and having financial resources. I went

Venugopal will have many opportunities to put her skills to use when she starts a new position this fall as a staff attorney at Catholic Charities’ unaccompanied minors division in New York City. She will represent detained individuals who came to the U.S. under the age of 21 without the accompaniment of an adult as they seek legal status in the U.S. “I really understood how much I grew over the past two years when I interviewed for this position,” Venugopal says. “I don’t think I’d be the person I am today without the environment created at the fellowship.”


In August 2022, Judge Noel Hillman, NJ USDJ, issued a decision certifying two groups of parents of students with disabilities in the class action lawsuit CP et al v. NJ DOE. The case concerns the state’s pattern and practice of failing to hear and decide special education administrative disputes within 45 days, as required by federal law, and alleges that this practice dates back to 2005. In some cases, parents have had to wait upwards of 300 days for

a decision, with one family waiting over 790 days. The Education and Health Law Clinic represented several advocacy organizations as amici on the issue of class certification and on two motions for preliminary injunction. Law students (now alumnae) Yadilsa Diaz and Nicole Virella, helped research and write the briefs and assisted in preparing for oral argument. Professor Jennifer Valverde argued on behalf ofamici in early 2020.

Priscila D. Abraham Medha Venugopal

Law School Team Challenges Felony Disenfranchisement Laws


milestone brief to overturn laws in 48 states that prevent citizens with felony convictions from voting, arguing that such restrictions violate international human rights law.

The brief was filed in Washington, D.C., before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which monitors the U.S. and other nations’ compliance with their human rights treaty obligations.

“The U.S. has continuously failed to take action against voting rights violations and we hope the commission will issue a ruling to fix this,’’ said Rutgers Law Professor Penny Venetis, who leads the school’s International Human Rights Clinic in Newark. The clinic has partnered on the effort with the global law firm White & Case LLP.

Congress has been unable to pass muchneeded voting rights legislation, including federal laws eliminating, or at least limiting, felony disenfranchisement. Bringing a human rights-based challenge before the commission, which oversees North America, South America and Central America, could pave the way for federal and state reforms, Venetis said.

“This could be a game changer,’’ she said. “It will allow legislators to argue that felony disenfranchisement laws in the U.S. should be repealed because they violate international law.’’

In the U.S., 5.2 million citizens are disenfranchised because of criminal convictions. According to the brief, felony disenfranchisement laws, which date back to the Jim Crow era, unjustly impact communities of color, particularly Black citizens. Because of racial profiling and over-policing, a disproportionate number of Black and brown Americans are arrested, convicted of felonies, and sentenced to prison, according to Venetis.

Black men are six times more likely to be incarcerated than white men, while Latino men are two-and-a-half times more likely to be incarcerated than white men. One out of every three Black and one out of every six Latino boys will be sentenced to prison in their lifetime. In contrast, one out of every 17 white boys can expect to be sentenced to prison in their lifetime.

“Disenfranchised people have second-class status when they return to their communities after serving prison sentences. They cannot fully reintegrate because they cannot influence what happens in their communities through the political process,’’ Venetis said. “We want to change this inequality.”

For two decades, Venetis and students in Rutgers Law School’s Human Rights Clinic have been advocating for voting rights for everyone over 18, regardless of whether they have been convicted of a crime.

Most nations don’t ban formerly incarcerated citizens from voting and have condemned U.S. policies that disenfranchise those who are imprisoned or formerly

A Way Out for Incarcerated Minors

THANKS IN PART TO THE WORK OF LAURA COHEN and the Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic, children cannot be sentenced to life without parole—or what amounts to it—in New Jersey.

Our society generally agrees that children should be treated differently than adults; indeed, this is the basis of the juvenile court system. However, it’s still incredibly common for minors to be tried, convicted, and sentenced as adults. The result? Many individuals end up serving decades upon decades of time— sometimes the rest of their lives—in prison for crimes they committed as children or teenagers.

In response, the US Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that it’s unconstitutional to sentence a minor to a mandatory sentence of life without parole, as it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. The New Jersey State Supreme Court took this one step further in 2017, when it determined that even if a minor is not sentenced to die in prison, sentences can be so long that they amount to a life sentence, and are therefore also unconstitutional. “The court recognized that children’s developmental immaturity makes them less culpable than adults who have committed similar crimes and more likely to outgrow criminal behavior as they mature,” says Cohen, Distinguished Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic. But legislators didn’t go far enough to answer the question at the root of this issue: How long is too long when it comes to kids? In 2021, the NJ Supreme Court heard another case on this issue, which posited that a mandatory

minimum sentence of 30 years—the current statute for murder—constitutes cruel and unusual punishment when applied to a minor.

In support of this proposed change, the Clinic stepped in to write an amicus curiae, or “friend of the court” brief. But this time, it would be much different from the norm. “Typically, an amicus brief educates the court about a larger policy or social justice issue that’s not directly in front of it,” says Cohen. “In this case, we wanted to make sure that the stories of people who had committed serious crimes when they were children and were sentenced to long terms were heard, and that they’d inform the way the Court was looking at this issue.”

The Clinic’s brief, filed jointly with the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest, includes the stories of 10 individuals from New Jersey and across the US who were sentenced as minors and served (or are still serving) lengthy sentences. “All of these people have done extraordinary things both inside and outside prison,” Cohen said. “They are parents and spouses. They take classes and earn degrees. They are community organizers, mentors, advocates, and educators. They volunteer to help other inmates and hold jobs. They rarely have

imprisoned. Under international law, sentencing judges are required to review each case to determine whether a crime is sufficiently serious enough to disenfranchise someone, Venetis said.

In the U.S., there is automatic blanket disenfranchisement. “It doesn’t matter whether you were convicted of postal fraud or tax fraud or a mass murder,’’ said Venetis.“ Everyone who is convicted of a felony is disenfranchised automatically.”

Venetis believes the global anti-racist movement that resulted from the 2020 murder of George Floyd has focused attention on human rights violations against Black people and other communities of color in the U.S. and shifted public opinion on the issue at home and abroad.

Dozens of prominent individuals and organizations filed amicus briefs in support of the Clinic’s petition, including: United Nations Special Rapporteurs, the Yale Law School Human Rights Clinic, The Center for Constitutional Rights, and the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.

disciplinary infractions. And, like the majority of young people who serve long prison terms, they have extraordinarily low recidivism rates.”

“What we were trying to convey is that the punitive purposes of punishment can be served in far less than 30 years when a young person is involved, and that the contributions these people can and do make to the community must be recognized and valued,” Cohen said.

The Court ultimately agreed, deciding that a juvenile cannot be incarcerated for more than 20 years without the opportunity to be reevaluated and paroled or resentenced.

Cohen estimates that over 200 individuals currently incarcerated in the New Jersey prison system fall within the boundaries of this ruling, and will be immediately eligible to petition the court for a modification of their sentences.

“As more people reach the 20-year mark, they will continue to file petitions for immediate reduction of sentence or parole eligibility,” she says.

“Hopefully, soon, we also can change the law to ensure that children no longer receive these lengthy, cruel, and counterproductive sentences, and that every young person has the same opportunity to contribute to their community as those profiled in our brief.”

FALL 2022 9
Laura Cohen, Distinguished Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic Rutgers Law School’s Newark campus

Housing Advocacy Clinic Continues to Innovate and Expand


students develop the skills necessary to be effective and conscientious tenant advocates and public interest lawyers. As part of the Camden-based Housing Justice Project, which also includes the Eviction Prevention Pro Bono Project, HAC students defend renters in eviction matters throughout South Jersey, with a focus on providing zealous and thoughtful representation to members of underresourced communities. Clinic students will also participate in knowledge-sharing events to

more broadly serve the wider tenant community outside of the courtroom, create Know Your Rights materials, advocate for broader social change, and conduct equity impact analysis in the landlord-tenant arena. This fall, Caryn Schreiber joined the Housing Advocacy Clinic in Camden as a visiting assistant clinical professor. She brings to the clinic her extensive experience as a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society of New York City’s Civil Law Reform Unit and with the Brooklyn and East New York Neighborhood Offices.

of the Rutgers Center on Criminal Justice, Youth Rights, and Race. “We hope this helps us exonerate more wrongfully convicted people in a cooperative fashion than we otherwise would be able to.”

Ultimately, school and program leadership have a series of ambitious goals including, but not limited to, exonerating wrongful convictions.

“I hope that we are able to ensure that any person who has been wrongfully convicted of a crime has access to effective, zealous, passionate representation in New Jersey,” says Cohen. “I hope that our work and what we learn about the causes, effects, and frequency of wrongful conviction will make its way into legislative and regulatory reforms in the state so we can start to prevent the tragedy of wrongful convictions in the first place.”

Project Leadership

Nyssa Taylor joined Rutgers Law School this fall as the managing attorney of NJIP. Immediately before coming on board, Nyssa served as the criminal justice strategic litigation and policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, where she developed class-action lawsuits to defend civil liberties and tackle systemic injustice. She also wrote reports highlighting issues of statewide importance and provided public testimony before local and state legislative bodies.

REAL WORLD IMPAC T Criminal and Youth Justice students researched and documented the devastating impact of monetary penalties imposed on children involved in the delinquency system. Together with Clinic faculty, they drafted legislation eliminating fines and fees imposed on children in Juvenile Court, rescinding all previously imposed monetary penalties, and vacating all outstanding warrants issued for unpaid fines and fees. After a successful advocacy campaign by the Clinic and its community partners, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the bill into law in January 2022. New Jersey now stands as a model for other states in the national fight for economic justice for youth. STUDENT RESEARCH LEADS TO NEW STATE LAW REMOVING MONETARY PENALTIES FOR JUVENILES IN COURT SYSTEM INNOCENCE PROJECT continued from page 1
Caryn Schreiber, Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor, Housing Advocacy Clinic Rutgers Law School’s Camden campus


Rutgers Law School (RLS) is a pioneer and national model in clinical education. RLS boasts 18 clinics across its two New Jersey campuses in Newark and Camden where students represent real clients under the supervision of Rutgers Law faculty. Students in the clinical education programs learn lawyering skills and development of professional identity, working with clients on numerous issues. In addition, our clinical faculty have influenced the development of law, conducted applied research and launched interdisciplinary projects with significant impact, and have had published scholarship cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and other high courts. These are just a few examples of Rutgers Law School’s Real World Impact.


The Intellectual Property Law Clinic, which provides a wide range of intellectual property and entertainment law related services, has obtained a national and international reputation, as represented by both the client roster and significant number of requests for assistance from throughout the USA and internationally. The Clinic is also one of the initial clinics in the USPTO Law School Clinic Program, and has filed more trademark applications with the USPTO than any other law school in the program


The Education and Health Law Clinic drafted, negotiated, and succeeded in getting New Jersey legislation passed to extend the special education statute of limitations for COVID-19 related compensatory education claims for students with disabilities. The legislation is the first of its kind in the nation.


The Domestic Violence Clinic, started in 2016, offers New Jersey’s first dedicated program for people seeking restraining orders pursuant to the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act.


During a briefing conference before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Veterans Advocacy Clinic students successfully argued that the U.S. Veterans Affairs violated its “duty to assist” a client in his over 40-year-long quest to obtain VA benefits.


Child & Family Advocacy Clinic students represented a young adult who turned 21 in October 2021, shortly after the expiration of pandemic-relief funding that allowed child welfare agencies to extend support to youth in foster care beyond their twentyfirst birthdays. The Clinic filed a motion to retain jurisdiction and extend litigant’s rights, which led to successful negotiations to extend services and the stipend thru August 31, 2022. That motion and letter brief was shared statewide by the Office of the Law Guardian to help other attorneys advocate for their aging out clients.


In United States v. Whitfield, the Constitutional Rights Clinic represented a federal habeas petitioner in an appeal alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The petitioner was convicted of federal crimes in connection with a reverse sting by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives [ATF] involving a fake drug stash house. He alleges that his attorney’s post-trial motion for discovery regarding racially selective enforcement by the ATF prejudiced him, as a timely motion before trial might have led to evidence that required dismissal of his indictment. Constitutional Rights Clinic student Saumya Vaishampayan ‘22 argued before a panel of the Third Circuit in June 2022. Although the panel denied the appeal later in the summer, the panel thanked Vaishampayan for her “excellent . . . pro bono representation of Mr. Whitfield in this matter.”

FALL 2022 11



S.I. Newhouse Center for Law and Justice

123 Washington Street, 4th Floor, Newark, NJ 07102 | (973) 353-3000 |


Associate Dean for Clinical Education

Anjum Gupta

Deputy Director of Clinical Programs

Randi Mandelbaum

Child Advocacy Clinic

Randi Mandelbaum, Director

Ashley Cruz, Staff Attorney, DCF/Immigration Project

Cosette Douglas, Senior Staff Attorney, DCF/Immigration Project

Meredith Gudesblatt, Immigration Paralegal, DCF/Immigration Project

Ariela Herzog, Supervising Attorney, DCF/Immigration Project

Community and Transactional Lawyering Clinic

Robert C. Holmes, Director Charles I. Auffant


Constitutional Rights Clinic

Alexis Karteron, Director

Ronald K. Chen

Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic

Laura Cohen, Director

Tyler Dougherty, Pratt Fellow and Staff Attorney

Elana Wilf, Staff Attorney

Nyssa Taylor, Managing Attorney, Innocence Project (Newark and Camden)

Economic Justice and Public Benefits Clinic

Jon Dubin, Director

Education and Health Law Clinic

Esther Canty-Barnes, Director

Jennifer Rosen Valverde

Entrepreneurship Clinic

Douglas Eakeley, Director

Theodore Weitz, Adjunct Professor

Federal Tax Law Clinic

Sandy Freund, Director


217 North Fifth Street, Camden, NJ 08102 | (856) 225-6375 |


Director of Clinical Programs

Joanne Gottesman

Child and Family Advocacy Clinic

Meredith L. Schalick, Director

Domestic Violence Clinic

Victoria Chase, Director

Ruth Anne Robbins

Entrepreneurship Clinic

Arthur Laby, Director

Tara Pellicori, Adjunct Professor


continued from page 4

help create a diverse, inclusive, and supportive environment for their work and the program’s progress over the past 20 years.

What do you believe are the biggest challenges that lie ahead for clinical legal education?

Before March 2020, I would have identified the still lingering effects of the legal economy’s recession and the resulting economic contractions at (and mergers of) several law schools, along with greater consumer (and bar and bench) demand for law schools to provide marketable skills to graduates for survival in a smaller, less robust legal economy. These phenomena produced pressure for more experiential and clinical education, but at lower costs to law schools. This, in turn, presented many pedagogical and institutional challenges to existing clinical programs and clinical faculty, including incentives to replicate past, often inequitable hierarchies with low-cost, non-faculty teaching fellows, staff attorneys, and adjunct teachers.

While these pressures persist, I think the pandemic added new twists due to the use and acceptance of virtual teaching methodologies, which were a pandemic necessity but are likely to continue in some form. I suspect there will be pressure from many sources to avoid returning fully to in-person, pre-pandemic instruction. While greater use of online instruction and distance learning/teaching may be a positive development for legal education as a whole in many ways, I think it presents unique challenges for clinical education that is grounded in interpersonal skills development

Expungement Clinic

Meredith Schalick, Director

Housing Advocacy Clinic

Anne Mallgrave, Director

Caryn Schreiber, Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor

Ashley Maddison, Staff Attorney

Taylor De La Pena, Program Coordinator

Immigrant Justice Clinic

Joanne Gottesman, Director

Elizabeth Yaeger, Senior Staff Attorney, DCF/Immigration Project

and instruction, client interaction and communication, and ground level community engagement, where much can be lost through distance.

Online clinical teaching and lawyering also presents additional challenges, stemming from the digital divide and the absence of access to technology in the low-income populations which historically comprise the client base for most of our clinical programs.

Finally, I think clinical programs, and legal education more broadly, will be challenged to teach around and confront the social justice crises of the times—at the moment, (in my opinion) from increasingly antidemocratic/autocratic, white supremacist, and women’s reproductive-freedom-denying/ health-imperiling currents and movements in our broader society, and from the existential burdens of climate change and imperatives of climate justice.

As you know, Professor Anju Gupta is succeeding you as Associate Dean for Clinical Education, and when Professor Robert Holmes steps down in January 2023, Professor Randi Mandelbaum will succeed him as Deputy Director of the Clinical Program in Newark. This marks the first change in leadership since you assumed the role 20 years ago. What are your hopes for the future of the clinical program at Rutgers?

I hope the program will continue to evolve and grow in the fluid institutional context of the relatively recent law school merger with Rutgers–Camden, and address issues of cross-campus program coordination and collaboration consistent with clinical program prerogatives in each location.

Housing Justice and Tenants’ Solidarity Clinic

Greg Baltz, Visiting Assistant Professor and Director

Immigrant Rights Clinic

Anjum Gupta, Director

Leena Khandwala, Managing Attorney, DDDI

Pina Cirillo, Supervising Attorney, DDDI

Kunal Sharma, Supervising Attorney, DDDI

Irma Calderon, Detention Fellow, DDDI

Shayna Scott, Detention Fellow, DDDI

Sylvia Santos, Paralegal, DDDI

Intellectual Property Clinic

John R. Kettle III, Director

International Human Rights Clinic

Penny Venetis, Director

Rutgers Immigrant Community Assistance Project

Jason Hernandez, Staff Attorney

Assistant Director for Clinical Administration

Christopher J. Phillips

Administrative Staff

Melissa Jordan Diane Martinez Kaiwan Perez

Innocence Project

Nyssa Taylor, Managing Attorney (Camden & Newark)

Rutgers Immigrant Community Assistance Project

Jason Hernandez, Staff Attorney

Mary Hewey, Program Coordinator

Veterans Advocacy Clinic

Traci Overton, Director

Assistant Director for Clinical Administration Angelica Latorre Aguirre Administrative Staff Lidia Catoe

More broadly, I hope and fully expect that the program will continue to flourish in addressing the educational, public service, social justice, and related scholarly challenges of the times—likely in ways I can’t even yet fathom. Just as my seniors Frank, Nadine, and Jon had the confidence to look to me more than 20 years ago without many suggestions or stated imperatives beyond program unification, I too have complete confidence in my successors— Anju Gupta and Randi Mandelbaum—in figuring out where we need to be and in what new ways we need to confront the daunting upcoming challenges of the times.

What’s next for you?

I hope to return to where I was from 1999 to 2002 (albeit as an elder now): to the mix of clinical and classroom teaching, scholarship, and public and community service, without the diversion of a substantial portion of my energy, time, and focus to administration.

I look forward to evolving the Economic Justice and Public Benefits Clinic, which I will be directing when I return from a year sabbatical, towards a broader subject matter focus beyond social security and social welfare benefits work, such as inequitable civil fines and fees, and financial obstacles to access to justice. And, I have turned my scholarly focus for the immediate future towards the intersection of racial justice and equity in social security programs.

Finally, I hope to be a source of institutional clinical program information, memory, and guidance for Anju and Randi (when they seek it) much in the way Jon and Frank were for me over many years.

Published by the Rutgers Law School Live-Client Clinical Program
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