Clinical Programs - LGBT Clinic

Advocacy for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Communities Clinic

The Advocacy for LGBT Communities Clinic (LGBT Clinic) at Cornell Law School is one of the only law school clinics in the country dedicated to serving members of the LGBT community. Students in the clinic have an extraordinary opportunity to contribute to the struggle for LGBT equality by representing individual people in a variety of legal matters and undertaking advocacy projects in conjunction with LGBT organizations.

Individual client cases in the LGBT Clinic have included:

• Fighting to obtain asylum for LGBT immigrants facing deportation to countries where they would face beatings, rape, and even murder such as    Jamaica, Uganda, and Ukraine.
• Helping transgender women incarcerated in men's prisons obtain medical care, female clothing, and protection from sexual assault.
• Filing adoption petitions for LGBT parents seeking a legal relationship with their children.
• Assisting LGBT people in obtaining divorces and other family law relief.

Students have the opportunity to handle all phases of the representation: interviewing and counseling clients; securing any necessary expert witnesses; researching and writing all briefs and motions filed; and appearing on the client's behalf at any scheduled court hearings.
Students also undertake advocacy projects in conjunction with non-profit organizations working to advance LGBT equality. Prior projects have included:

• A report on enforcement-only immigration bills and their effect on undocumented LGBT people for United We Dream’s Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (QUIP).  Broken Dreams: How Enforcement-Only Bills in the House of Representatives Threaten to Further Marginalize the LGBT Undocumented was released in November 2013 at a Congressional Briefing in Washington, DC. 
• Know your rights presentations for LGBT community members on how to protect your legal rights in the event of death or disability through advance planning, the end of DOMA and what it means for your family, and how transgender people can legally change their name and gender on identification documents.
• A report for the New York State Network of LGBT Domestic Violence Victim Service Organizations on LGBT victims’ rights to access domestic violence services including shelter.

In the seminar portion of the clinic, students will deepen their knowledge of relevant law and further develop their advocacy skills.We will also reflect on how lawyers can most effectively contribute to the struggle for social justice on behalf of marginalized LGBT communities.

If you are a law student interested in applying to the clinic, please see For Students.

The Cornell Law School LGBT Clinic provides free legal assistance to low-income LGBT people in Tompkins County and the surrounding area. If you are a potential client and would like more information please see For Potential Clients.

The LGBT Clinic is directed by Professor Susan Hazeldean.