Religious Liberty Clinic
The Religious Liberty Clinic is the only clinic of its kind in the country. The landmark program offers participating students a full-time, first-chair experience representing a diverse group of clients in legal disputes arising from a wide range of beliefs, practices, and circumstances. Students learn in class and engage through reflective and supervised practice the laws, norms, and limits affecting the exercise of religious freedom in a pluralistic society. Students are expected to counsel individual or institutional clients and litigate on their behalf with excellence, professionalism, and maturity. Although religious liberty disputes cut across economic lines, the clinic strives to serve those in need.
In clinic, students typically handle an accommodation project—e.g., represent a prisoner, student, or employee facing obstacles in the exercise of faith—as well as a longer-term litigation or development matter—e.g., represent a small church, synagogue, or mosque with zoning issues, or an individual challenging state preferences for particular beliefs. Opportunities to draft amicus briefs also arise. The clinic involves agency, trial, and appellate practice—though time constraints may not permit each student to work in all areas—under the empowering supervision of faculty and staff. Students work in assigned case teams but are also encouraged to help develop new clients and matters.