Jason Taverner wrote:
Skool wrote:Bryan Stevenson's habeas/death penalty clinic is a big difference. So is Guggenheim's Family defense clinic. Both give you serious substantive experience representing clients in and out of court.
There really is a clinical difference between Columbia and NYU and it's not just marketing.
I'm sure there is a coke vs. Pepsi thing going on re people being uptight or whatever .
not to be flip, but what are the significant differences between those and the prisoners and families clinic, the juvenile representation clinic, and the challenging the consequences of mass incarceration clinic?
So the program at Columbia I became most familiar with is the adolescent representation project/child advocacy clinic. The one that Jane Spinak does (I met her recently). It seemed as if you were mostly working with older/former foster youth on ad hoc tasks (medicare, housing issues). These are kids who have aged out or will soon. It sounded almost like advocacy work/social work, and light on legal work. Guggenheim's family defense clinic involves representing families who are at risk of losing their children (there's a difference in perspective that parallels the scholarship he's actually really famous in the field for), and more adversarial and more court involved. You're directly representing family in foster care proceedings.
I met Genty recently too, the guy who does the Prisoners and Families Clinic. It seems like it's more training people to advocate for themselves both in and out of prison so that they have a better shot at maintaining family relationships. Not necessarily as fulfilling as advocating for them yourself, not that it's not important work. For Stevenson's EJI clinic, you go to Alabama and are responsible for meeting with your client on death row, interviewing potential witnesses, preparing filings for your client, etc. You help push the case forward (or cause delay as required). It's much more direct engagement. Plus EJI is very highly regarded in the PI world (Bryan argued the case that ended Juvenile Life Without Parole at SCOTUS, he's also had a massive year in raising awareness of mass incarceration in America). I would think doing the EJI clinic as a PI person is actually something you would put on your resume when seeking employment--- on the same level as a summer internship.
I didn't run into anyone who was working on the consequences of mass incarceration project, so I didn't learn much about it when making my decision. Parts of the online description sound cool. The less cool aspect, imho, seems to be developing materials to help prisoners advocate for themselves. Although the webpage notes that "projects may include a federal habeas action on behalf of a state prisoner raising an actual innocence claim and a religious freedom claim on behalf of a federal prisoner. Claims related to medical care and mental health are also part of the clinic’s docket." If students are actually getting to do habeas stuff, that's pretty cool. But it sounds uncertain.
tl;dr NYU appears to have more direct representation experiences.
ETA: Elizabeth Scott, who teaches at Columbia, also played a prominent role in the case Bryan Stevenson argued at SCOTUS. In some ways, she was more critical (although more of an academic contributor). For people keeping score at home. I don't think she's too much involved in clinics at Columbia, in any case.