The Human Rights Clinic works to promote and protect human rights in Texas and around the world. Through supervised practice, students learn the responsibilities and skills of human rights lawyering and advocacy.
Mirroring the approach of practicing advocates, students work in small project teams, developing lawyering, advocacy and ethical skills and receiving intensive mentoring and feedback. The Human Rights Clinic’s practice spans a wide range of issues, including sexual and reproductive rights; human rights and the environment; U.N. treaty bodies and special procedures; and many more. All the cases and projects involve research, writing, and an opportunity to discuss the strategies used by human rights advocates. The cases and projects provide the students an opportunity to gain practical skills in partnering with other students, institutions, and organizations, thus forming a team of advocates. Finally, all the projects and cases allow a multidisciplinary approach and permit working across disciplines and use the perspectives of different fields to enhance the overall theoretical framework. Routinely the Clinic admits non-Law students. The Clinic employs a variety of lawyering methods that are tailored to the needs of each project. These include: Documentation and Reporting; International Litigation; Advocacy.
The Clinic meets two times per week for an hour and a half. Classroom lectures and discussion focus on substantive human rights law, client interviewing, case and project preparation and strategy and review of ongoing cases and projects. In addition to the classroom component, students should expect to spend 15–20 hours per week on Clinic work. The weekly workload varies substantially, depending upon the stage of each project or case. Clinic work may include some travel.
Preference is given to students who have taken a human rights course or who have other human rights or public interest experience.