Author: jacoblipton

Systemic Lawyering Webinar #8 – Focus on Domestic Violence

Join this week’s “Systemic Lawyering in Times of Crisis” Webinar at:  

This week’s session, Tuesday May 12 at 12pm EST, focuses on domestic violence and features the following panelists:

  • Stephanie Davidson, UCLA Law School
  • Christine Perumal, Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Law Project
  • Jessica Spector, Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Law Project

The series features systemically oriented lawyers and activists in fields most affected by our latest crisis. Each session examines the special challenges posed by the crisis, the pressing needs, the new opportunities, and the more general lessons for lawyers, law students, and others committed to promoting systemic change.

For more details about the series, including links to videos of previous sessions, see

Click here to join the webinars via Zoom:

Call for Projects!

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TL;DR: If you have any ideas for what motivated law students could work on this summer, please let us know on this form. And please distribute this as widely as possible!

Law students across the country are eager to work on pressing problems created or highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, many organizations and legal practitioners on the front lines of the crisis need assistance urgently, but may not be in a position to take on summer fellows. Through The COVID-19 Rapid Response/Systems Summer Institute, we are committed to bridging the gap between those students and those organizations. Having received hundreds of fellowship applications from students in the last few days, we are now seeking project partner organizations and lawyers in need of assistance. Here is some basic information about our program.

Fellows will work individually or on teams on a variety of project types, including:

  • Direct client work (e.g., law-related work, such as staffing a helpline or assisting individuals with unemployment insurance forms)
  • Legal research/writing
  • Advocacy efforts

We hope that many of our project partners will be able to work closely with our fellows, providing initial instruction and some amount of supervision, feedback, and mentorship as the projects evolve. We understand that some partner organizations will be unable to engage on all of those levels, so we will have structures to supplement as needed: please don’t let limited supervision capacity prevent you from reaching out to us. Although the pandemic is a driving force behind this effort, the projects themselves need not be virus-related. 

If you have a specific project to propose, please submit it on this form.

If you are uncertain about whether your potential project would be a good fit or is adequately developed, please send us a line here. We are eager to hear even vague ideas and to workshop them with you. 

Please email and with any questions. 

On this Tuesday (05/05) at 12:00 pm ET, we are hosting a Zoom webinar to describe the program in more detail and to answer questions from interested lawyers/organizations. You can join the webinar at this link. The video from the webinar will also be made available for those who cannot join. 

If you are a lawyer potentially interested in volunteering any amount of time to provide supervision and mentorship, please let us know here. We will work with you to find opportunities that match your availability and any conflicts concerns.

Regardless, we ask that you please distribute this as broadly as possible within your networks, to help us connect as many law students wanting to help with as many organizations in need of help as possible. 

Thank you!
The COVID-19 Rapid Response/Systems Summer Institute Organizing Committee

COVID-19 Rapid Response/Systems Summer Institute

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A collaboration between People’s Parity Project (PPP), the Systemic Justice Project (SJP), and the Justice Catalyst (JC) announces a COVID-19 Rapid Response/Systems Summer Institute, which will engage law students in full-time (or part-time) summer legal fellowships, working with legal and law-related organizations on the front lines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis. While working on urgent projects, fellows will also participate in additional programming, described below. 

Fellows will conduct research, write memos or reports, produce “know your rights” materials, and otherwise assist with projects aimed at ensuring the most vulnerable members of our society obtain the support they need and meet the legal challenges they face in this public health and economic crisis.

Specific projects will continue to develop in response to the current crisis and the needs of partner organizations. Sample projects could include:

  • identifying state-level legal barriers to instituting vote-by-mail for the November election;
  • assessing the authority of governors to free individuals held in detention in public health crises;
  • supporting individuals applying for unemployment insurance;
  • identifying means of holding individuals accountable for marketing sham cures for COVID-19;
  • supporting advocacy efforts for states to provide unhoused people with either temporary or permanent access to housing.

Fellows will receive three tiers of supervision/mentorship:

  1. the program’s coordinating and supervising team composed of members of PPP/SJP/JC; 
  2. the lawyers and members of partner organizations who provide projects and with whom fellows will work directly; and
  3. volunteer attorneys, who will devote a fixed number of hours per week supervising specific students/teams.

In most cases the host organization will be People’s Parity Project but specific placements may vary. The coordinating team will include Molly Coleman, Jacob Lipton, and Jon Hanson.

The additional programming will be led by the Systemic Justice Project, and is designed to build community and provide participants a chance to share lessons, learn about different kinds of justice-oriented lawyering, compare different theories of change, examine deeper systemic problems revealed by the pandemic, and consider what opportunities the crisis might create for advancing long-term systemic change. It will include workshops with community organizers, social activists, justice-oriented lawyers, clinical faculty, and podium faculty from a variety of organizations and institutions. 

If you are a law student potentially interested in participating either as a part time volunteer or a full time fellow, a lawyer potentially interested in providing pro bono supervision, or an individual or organization potentially interested in proposing projects, please complete this form: 

If you have a specific project to propose, please submit it here. Projects could be for an individual student or a team of students, and can vary in length and time commitment: 

We have secured limited funding to support this work, and also intend to qualify for summer public interest funding from law schools where possible.

Please distribute this message widely to organizations, lawyers, and students!

If you have any questions, please contact and 

Molly Coleman
Jacob Lipton
Jon Hanson


Systemic Lawyering in Times of Crisis Webinar One

The Systemic Justice Project is hosting a zoom webinar series on “Systemic Lawyering in Times of Crisis” on Tuesdays from 12-1pm EST.

Click here for more information about the webinar series 

The first session, on March 31st, featured:

Watch the webinar here:

Systemic Lawyering Webinar Series


The Systemic Justice Project is hosting a zoom webinar series on “Systemic Lawyering in Times of Crisis” on Tuesdays from 12-1pm EST.

Click here to join the webinar:

The webinars are free and open to the public. See below for more information – this post will be updated with details of the ongoing panels.

The series features systemically-oriented justice-seeking lawyers and activists in fields most affected by our latest crisis: housing, immigration, disability, employment, consumer/credit, incarceration, voting rights, climate, health care, and more.

Each session will examine the special challenges posed by the crisis, the revised priorities and strategies being adopted, and the new collaborations being forged. We will consider the pressing needs, the new opportunities, and the more general lessons for lawyers, law students, and others committed to promoting systemic change.

Upcoming Events

Stay tuned for upcoming events.

Past Sessions

Tuesday May 12 at 12pm EST, focus on domestic violence and feature the following panelists:

  • Stephanie Davidson, UCLA Law School
  • Christine Perumal, Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Law Project
  • Jessica Spector, Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Law Project

Tuesday  May 5 – focus on the COVID-19 Rapid Response/Systems Summer Institute. The session featured the following contributors:

  • Molly Coleman: Co-Founder and National Organizing Director of People’s Parity Project;
  • Matthew Duffy: Catalyst Fellow, Center for Popular Democracy;
  • Alana Greer: Co-Founder, Community Justice Project;
  • Jon Hanson: Faculty Director, Systemic Justice Project; and
  • Jacob Lipton: Program Director, Systemic Justice Project.

Panelists provided an overview of the summer institute and answered specific questions regarding lawyers and organizations looking for help might make a project proposal. 

Tuesday  April 28 – focus on economic inequity in the time of COVID-19 (video here).

Tuesday  April 21 – focus on criminal legal system (video here):

Tuesday  April 14 – focus on immigration (video here):

Wednesday April 8 – special session on decarceration (video here):

Tuesday April 7 (video here):

Tuesday March 31 (video here):

Alec Karakatsanis Book Talk: Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System

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Leading civil rights lawyer Alec Karakatsanis of Civil Rights Corps will give a book talk on Wednesday October 30th on his groundbreaking new book, Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System. Lunch provided, and books will be available for purchase and signing from 11:45am. See more at 

Full details:

Alec Karakatsanis Book Talk – Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System
Wednesday October 30th, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Austin Hall North, Harvard Law School

Cosponsored by:
Systemic Justice Project
Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice
Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising (OPIA)
Criminal Justice Policy Program
Criminal Justice Institute
Supreme Torts

Hope to see you there!


Alec Karakatsanis on How Lawyers can Challenge the Criminal Injustice System

Please join OPIA for a talk with Alec Karakatsanis ’08, recipient of a 2013 Public Service Venture Fund Seed Grant from HLS and Founder & Executive Director of Civil Rights Corps, a non-profit organization dedicated to groundbreaking systemic litigation and advocacy challenging pervasive injustices in the American criminal legal system.

Alec’s talk will touch upon many topics, including:

  • The role of narrative to end mass human caging
  • Litigation strategies to challenge money bail, prosecutors, indigent defense systems, and the criminalization of poverty
  • Working with directly impacted people and community organizers
  • Confronting capitalism and white supremacy

Alec was named the 2016 Trial Lawyer of the Year by Public Justice for his role in bringing constitutional civil rights cases challenging the money bail system, and received the 2016 Stephen B. Bright Award for contributions to indigent defense in the South. His work to end modern debtors’ prisons was recently profiled in Harvard Magazine. Co-sponsored with ACS.

October 3 @ 5:15 pm – 6:15 pm, Hauser 102

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Justice Catalyst Fellowship

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Jacob Lipton will be hosting an info session tomorrow, Friday November 10th, at 12pm in HLS’s WCC 3007, about the Justice Catalyst’s Fellowship Program for graduating or post-clerkship law students. Learn more about the fellowship and our two-step application process – informal prospectus (optional but highly recommended) due November 15th, full application due January 10th – at

The Catalyst is looking for diverse, creative, self-starting fellows who will pursue year-long, project-based fellowships, with a possibility of renewal. The Catalyst prioritizes groundbreaking ideas, including early-stage projects that are boundary-pushing in the pursuit of systemic solutions to major injustices, whether at an established legal organization or an organization looking to hire its first lawyer.

The Catalyst’s philosophy is problem-centric. Successful projects start with a problem in the world and identify the best way to attack it. While the Catalyst’s core programmatic work is focused on litigation as a tool, fellowship project proposals need not be. Every problem has multiple possible solutions, and tailoring your project proposal to your understanding of the problem is key. While direct representation can be a major component of your project, the Catalyst is interested in projects that build towards broad scale change, including projects that fall outside traditional conceptions of legal work.

Full details at or contact for more information.


CHRGJ Summer Legal Internship: Call for Applications

The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law is currently accepting applications for its full-time 10-week summer legal internship program, which will run from June 4, 2018 to August 10, 2018.

Applications are due November 1, 2017.

The Center houses the Global Justice Clinic, the Just Security online forum, and two UN experts and their research staff: the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-recurrence (transitional justice). Center faculty and staff will be working across a diverse range of issues, including:

  • Access to justice and legal empowerment
  • American poverty and human rights
  • Artificial intelligence and its impact on the human rights of the poor
  • Arts and human rights
  • Community-based human rights monitoring and data analysis
  • Corporate accountability and remedies for human rights violations by corporate actors
  • Data visualization and human rights
  • Human rights methodology
  • Legal empowerment
  • National security law and international law involving use of force and armed conflict
  • Rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to free, prior, and informed consent
  • Tax policy and human rights
  • Transitional justice
  • Trauma and resilience among human rights defenders

For additional information on CHRGJ’s current research, please visit our website and subscribe to our mailing list to receive announcements regarding new projects.

Interns’ work will include legal research, writing, and advocacy support. They will be expected to work well independently and as a team, and will be encouraged to engage with CHRGJ staff and visiting scholars as active colleagues. Interns will also participate in a series of educational seminars held every two weeks. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone seeking to enhance their knowledge of human rights law and practice and/or to pursue a career in public interest and social justice.

Application instructions

Please send the following to Brianne Cuffe at with the subject: 2018 Summer Legal Internship:

  1. application form
  2. cover letter tailored to the area(s) of CHRGJ you are most interested in working
  3. current CV
  4. names and contact information of two references
  5. unofficial law school transcript
  6. writing sample (English-language, 10 pages maximum, excerpts acceptable)

Application materials should be consolidated into a single PDF file in the order listed above and received by November 1, 2017 at 5:00pm.


Due to limited resources, candidates are strongly encouraged to seek other funding sources, such as their law school’s public interest law centers, local bar foundations and Equal Justice America.



  • Current or recent enrollment in a law degree program (JD, LLM, or equivalent)
  • Eligibility to intern in the United States
  • Excellent analytical, research and writing skills as demonstrated by academic record and/or writing sample(s)
  • Demonstrated commitment to human rights and social justice
  • Knowledge of the international legal system
  • Strong capacity to work independently and with people from diverse backgrounds, including partner organizations


  • Work experience prior to law school

Not required but will be considered assets for some positions:

  • Fluency and/or ability to conduct legal and human rights research in another language-particularly Spanish, French, Haitian Kreyol, Swahili, and/or Arabic
  • Experience with litigation in national, regional, or international bodies
  • Quantitative research skills
  • Systematic qualitative research skills, e.g., content coding, focus groups
  • Training or experience in psychology or mental health
  • Training or experience in journalism
  • Knowledge of earth sciences, especially hydrology or geology
  • Knowledge of extractive industries (oil, mining, and gas)
  • Knowledge of international financial institutions
  • Interest in corporate accountability or business and human rights

Applications from persons of color, LGBTQI persons, women, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged.