The Bronx Defenders offers two law school clinics through the Cardozo School of Law and Columbia Law School.
Columbia Law School
Our Holistic Defense Clinical Externship at Columbia Law School, launched in 2012, provides an immersive introduction to holistic, client-centered lawyering. The externship is comprised of a weekly seminar and a clinical externship at The Bronx Defenders. The weekly seminars include lectures on holistic defense, presentations from Bronx community experts and BxD advocates, group and individual practical exercises, oral advocacy presentations, fieldwork reflections, and discussions of systemic issues, such as race and class disparities in the law. Through the clinical externship at our office, students experience seminar topics in practice. Students apply the practical skills developed in the seminar while assisting in the representation of our clients under the supervision of attorneys in our Impact Litigation, Criminal, Family, Civil and Immigration Practice areas. Each supervising attorney is on an interdisciplinary team of attorneys, social workers, and advocates and helps students explore the full breadth of distinct but interrelated practice areas on their holistic defense team.
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.