Beth Lyon, Clinical Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Experiential Education, Clinical Program Director, and Director of the Farmworker Legal Assistance Clinic
This fall marks the launch of Cornell Law’s newest clinical course, the Veterans Law Practicum. The Cornell Law Veterans Association students and Office of Public Service worked tirelessly to develop and fundraise for the practicum, and it is gratifying to see their work come to fruition. Through casework in varied areas—including disability cases, working with the unhoused, and discharge redeterminations—and with policy advocacy, the practicum will bridge a significant access to justice gap for clients whose service put them in harm’s way while also leaving them vulnerable to precarity in their post-military lives.
The Afghanistan Assistance Clinic announced favorable outcomes in the first two of its 35 pending asylum petition decisions, a positive development for a local community that has had very little good news. Increased funding has just come in for local partners Catholic Charities and Journey’s End Refugee Services to assist our new Afghan neighbors, allowing the faculty to transition the clinic and continue law student support through externship and pro bono scholar placements.
Another noteworthy recent development in the clinical program is that students in many of our clinics are collaborating to provide key support to domestic change movements. Collectively, these programs are securing records and providing timely legal research for organizational clients, while handling individual matters for workers and protestors. Movement Lawyering Clinic director Carl Williams’ description of the lawyer’s role describes the paradigm he offers to students: “We are in those spaces, in those community meetings, in churches, in conferences, when Muslim folks, undocumented folks, LGBTQ folks, and Native folks are in a room asking, ‘How do we get free?’ We as lawyers are in the back going, ‘How can we help?’”
You will read about these and many other developments in this issue of our clinical newsletter. And, as always, please do stop in and see us if you find yourself here “high above Cayuga’s waters.”