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Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic

March 10, 2014

Pushing the Borders of Human Rights: Boyd Students Fight for Workers’ Rights in India

Eleven Boyd students, supervised by Professor Fatma Marouf, traveled to New Delhi over the winter session to engage in human rights study and fieldwork. In partnership with Indian students, they examined conditions for some of the world’s most vulnerable workers. According to Whitney Short (2L) the project allowed her to “make a real difference in people's lives.” Katelyn Franklin (3L) described the practicum as “a life altering, empowering experience.”

After a weeklong orientation course at Jawaharlal Nehru University, the students conducted two weeks of intensive fieldwork on behalf of the Society for Labour and Development, an NGO based in New Delhi. Professor Marouf and Jennifer Rosenbaum, Legal Director of the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, co-taught the program.

In the Community: The Business of Grassroots Organizing

Ahead of its official launch in fall 2014, the new Small Business and Nonprofit Legal Clinic (the “Clinic”), directed by Professor Eric Franklin, is already assisting community groups, including its first client, Nevadans for the Common Good (“NCG”), a grassroots political organization. Started in 2012, NCG is a broad and diverse group of nonprofits, schools, and religious organizations, focusing on some of Nevada’s most pressing issues, including child sex trafficking, the vulnerable elderly, immigrant integration, education, foreclosures, and neighborhood blight. NCG claimed its first victory in 2013, with the passage of Assembly Bill 67, recognizing the crime of sex trafficking.

A Laboratory for Scholarship: Research Probes Efficacy of Kids’ Court School

Our dual degree and law students are conducting empirical research on the Kids’ Court School that could potentially add significantly to the literature in child witness research. UNLV’s innovative Kids’ Court School educates children and youth about the judicial process, using a standardized, empirically based curriculum. The program seeks to maintain the integrity of the legal process, to conduct ongoing research aimed at improving the capabilities of child witnesses, to minimize the potentially traumatic effects of the courtroom on children, and to serve as a training program regarding best practices for educating children about the judicial process. To date, 849 children and youth have benefitted from the Kids’ Court School, and over 60 law students have participated as teachers and mock trial participants.

Clinic Connections: Gaining Appellate Expertise: Seth Floyd (Boyd ’10)

On his first day at a law firm in 2011, Seth Floyd was asked to list his area of expertise for his firm bio. He listed appellate, knowing it was more aspirational than factual at the time. “Apart from my summer clerking experience, I’d only been practicing at the firm for a few hours. But I figured, why not, that’s what I like best.” Back then Seth was fresh off a clerkship with Justice Hardesty at the Nevada Supreme Court and had fallen in love with appellate work as a student in Professor Anne Traum’s Appellate Clinic, where he had the chance to orally argue an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Immigration Detention Project

In November 2013, the Immigration Clinic published a report on conditions for immigration detainees at the Henderson Detention Center. The report has attracted attention from the media, congressional representatives, and community organizations. In partnership with PLAN Nevada and Mi Familia Vota, the Immigration Clinic continues to work towards detention reforms. Congressman Steven Horsford will chair an ad hoc congressional hearing on immigration on March 17, 2014, in North Las Vegas, where the Immigration Clinic will present its key findings on detention conditions and concerns about ICE's failure to follow prosecutorial discretion policies.

Family Justice

With the launch of the Post-Conviction Community Needs Assessment Project, the Family Justice Clinic (“FJC”) continues to explore the impact of criminalization on the family.