The Bronx Defenders offers two law school clinics through the Cardozo School of Law and Columbia Law School.
Columbia Law School
In 2012, The Bronx Defenders launched the Externship on Holistic Defense at Columbia Law School. This clinic immerses Columbia law students in the cutting edge of public defense work in the South Bronx. Course content and fieldwork will train students as future holistic lawyers by engaging them with a weekly classroom component at Columbia, in addition to ten hours of field work per week. Topics that are addressed include racial and class disparity in the justice system, policing policy, and the social history of the South Bronx. Background reading, case studies and simulations will help give students the vital background information necessary to lead them towards mastery of holistic advocacy. Every student has a mentor from his or her chosen practice area and attends weekly cross-discipline team meetings to thoroughly review all clients and share best practices across specialty areas.
Cardozo School of Law
In 2013, we partnered with The Cardozo School of Law to launch the Gertrud Mainzer Family Defense Field Clinic. This clinic examines child welfare law and policy, and offers students valuable litigation experience in high-stakes child neglect proceedings. Students gain essential litigation skills and experience by providing direct representation to parents in child neglect proceedings under the supervision of an experienced attorney.
While states are required by federal law to investigate allegations that children have been or are being abused and neglected, the overwhelming majority of such investigations are not of incidents of actual harm, but rather issues concerning a parent’s lack of resources, access to services, and poverty. Because of our unique model of Holistic Defense, The Bronx Defenders is an ideal placement for students to be first exposed to this emerging public defense field that seeks to address the root causes of criminal cases and mitigate the ensuing collateral consequences.