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2011 Clinic News

2011 Clinic News

Students Present at Statewide Training for Disability Advocates

Date: 11/16/2011


Albany Law students from the Civil Rights and Disability Law Clinic presented at a CLE training during the 2011 N.Y. State Commission on Quality of Care & Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities Contractor’s Meeting.

The four students -- Nathan Perry, Stefen Short,  Katie Valder and Stephen Barry, along with Jennifer Monthie '03 from Disabilities Advocates Inc. (DAI)  -- spoke about the Court of Appeals brief they recently wrote together with the law firm Patterson, Belknap, Web and Tyler.

The brief concerns the refusal of the N.Y. State Office of Mental Retardation to release records requested by the law school and DAI in an investigation of neglect from the state agency, concerning the agency's unnecessary institutionalization of individuals with developmental disabilities.

Other writers of the brief included students Kaitlyn Jorge, Paola Leichter, Cliff Morehouse, Paul McGrath and Nicole Kulik, as well as DAI attorneys Cliff Zucker and Tim Clune, with Chris Jackson from Patterson, Belknap.

The Court is expected to hear oral arguments on the case sometime in the spring.

Pictured to the left, from left, are Perry, Professor Bridgit Burke who directs the Clinic, Short,  Valder and Barry.

Speakers Discuss Emerging Issues in Mortgage Foreclosure, Tenants’ Rights

Date: 11/03/2011

Albany Law School’s Tenant Foreclosure Protection Clinic hosted attorneys and advocates from around the country to discuss “Emerging Issues in Mortgage Foreclosure Affecting Tenants’ Rights and Remedies” on Thursday, Nov. 3, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Watch a recording of the program. 

Conference attendees examined issues renters are facing, explored potential solutions, and shared their experiences at helping renters who live in properties subject to foreclosure. Speakers included:

Oriana Carravetta, Tenant Foreclosure Clinic, Albany, N.Y.

Geraldine Doetzer, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, Washington, D.C.

David Grossman, Harvard Legal Aid, Cambridge, Mass.

Samuel Levine, Project No One Leaves, Boston, Mass; Foreclosure Taskforce of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, Cambridge, Mass.

Purvi Shah, Community Justice Project of Florida Legal Services, Miami, Fla.

Maria Markovics, United Tenants of Albany, Albany, N.Y.

Jamie Webner, Project No One Leaves, Miami, Fla.

"Emerging Issues in Mortgage Foreclosure Affecting Tenants’ Rights and Remedies" was sponsored by New York State Homes & Community Renewal.

Professor Lynch, Alumna Megyn Kelly ’95 Recognized by Irish Legal 100

Date: 10/18/2011

Albany Law School Professor Mary Lynch and alumna Megyn Kelly ’95, anchor of America Live on the Fox News Channel, were among those honored by the Irish Legal 100 at an awards ceremony at the Irish Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 13.

The Irish Legal 100 is comprised of some of the most accomplished and distinguished lawyers of Irish descent from around the United States. Lawyers are chosen from law schools, law firms, the judiciary and industry. Other 2011 honorees include:

Bill Daley, Chief of Staff, President of United States

  • John Sexton, University President, NYU

  • Bill Robinson, Incoming President, American Bar Association

  • Maureen O'Rourke, Law Dean, BU Law

  • Barry Sullivan, Distinguished Professor, Loyola Law

  • Michael Simons, Law Dean, St. John's Law

  • Margaret "Peggy" Gilligan, Associate Administrator, FAA

  • Marianne Cullhane, Law Dean, Creighton Law

Professor Lynch, director of Albany Law School's Center for Excellence in Law Teaching (CELT), is a long-standing proponent for legal education reform, including editing and contributing content to the Best Practices for Legal Education blog. She has also served as co-director of the law school's Law Clinic & Justice Center. Prior to joining the Albany Law School faculty in 1989, she worked as an assistant district attorney in New York County. A Bronx native and daughter of Irish immigrants, she earned her bachelor's degree from New York University and her law degree from Harvard Law School.

Kelly joined Fox News Channel in 2004, initially working as a general assignment reporter based in Washington, D.C., before taking on her current role as anchor and host. Prior to beginning her career as a journalist, she practiced law as a corporate litigator. She last visited the Albany Law School campus for her 15th class reunion in 2010, delivering a talk to fellow graduates and receiving an Alumni Achievement Award. While a student, Kelly was an editor for the Albany Law Review.

Prof. Kearns’ New Text Brings Tax Issues Down to Earth

Professor Deborah Kearns' latest book, Skills & Values: Federal Income Taxation, was recently published by LexisNexis as part of a series of subject-specific, practice-oriented books and online materials designed to support both practical and analytical legal education.

Skills & Values: Federal Income Taxation includes exercises that are as authentic as possible, spanning IRS forms, schedules, and publications; wage and income transcripts; judicial opinions; statutes; and revenue rulings. Professor Kearns co-authored the book with Michelle Drumbl, a Professor at Washington & Lee University's law school.

As the director of Albany Law School's Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, Professor Kearns also oversees students representing taxpayers who have disputes with the IRS in both administrative and judicial proceedings. By participating in the clinic, students gain hands-on experience in tax practice and procedure, including jurisdiction, the limitations involved in personal income tax controversies, and alternative assessment strategies.

Before joining Albany Law School, Professor Kearns worked in private practice in New York City and the Capital Region, representing individuals, for-profit and not-for-profit entities in tax planning, tax controversy and complex tax preparation matters. Since joining the law school's faculty, she has taught Estate Planning II, Financial Planning for the Elderly, Introduction to Taxation, and Trusts and Estates.

Professor Kearns is the immediate past chair of the Taxation Committee of the Trusts and Estates Section of the New York State Bar Association and currently serves on the Trusts and Estates Executive Committee as the Third Judicial District Representative. She is a member of the Clinical Legal Education Association and the Association of American Law Schools, Clinical Legal Education Section.

Professor Kearns earned her law degree from Albany Law School in 2000. While a student, she served as an executive editor on the Albany Law Review. She also earned a LL.M. in Taxation from New York University.

Two New Professors Join Albany Law School Faculty

Date: 09/01/2011

Albany Law School recently announced the addition of two new professors to its full-time faculty: Monique McLaughlin as assistant professor of academic success and Sarah Rogerson as assistant clinical professor of law and director of the law school's Family Violence Litigation Clinic.

Professor McLaughlin is a former public defender, senior assistant attorney general and civil and criminal litigator. She was co-counsel in the well-cited case of United States v. Miranda-Santiago, 96 F3d 517 (1st Cir. 1996). Her scholarship concentration is in the areas of constitutional reasoning, voting race neutrality and the emerging issues regarding criminal courts and criminal jury reform and practices that affect the disenfranchised. She earned her law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Professor McLaughlin was most recently assistant professor of law at Ave Maria School of Law. She is also a former faculty member at Florida A&M College of Law, where she was part of a curriculum team that developed an innovative and practical approach to the bar exam at the law school. While at the University of Wisconsin School of Law, Professor McLaughlin taught LL.M. students and conducted a bar exam preparation program for Asian lawyers sitting for the New York bar examination.

Professor Rogerson spent several years as a litigation associate practicing federal and state law in New York and New Jersey. Her scholarship is focused on the intersections between domestic violence, family law, international law and immigration law and policy. She earned her law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law, as well as an LL.M. from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.

Professor Rogerson joins the faculty after completing a clinical teaching fellowship at the University of Baltimore School of Law, where she taught and supervised students enrolled in the Immigrant Rights Clinic. Previously, she represented immigrant adults and children in cases involving torture, domestic violence, human trafficking and guardianship petitions , in both state and federal courts at the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, Inc.

Professor Maurer Named AALS Externship Committee Co-Chair

Professor Nancy Maurer was recently appointed as a co-chair of the American Association of Law Schools' Clinical Section Externship Committee for a two-year term. 

The Externship Committee will focus over the next few years on identifying and sharing best practices for teaching in externships – also known as field placements, increasing field placement faculty membership in the clinical section and in reaching faculty new to field placements. A national externship conference (Externships 6) organized through the committee will take place in March 2012 at Harvard and Northeastern Law Schools.

As director of Albany Law School's Field Placement Clinic, Professor Maurer helps second- and third-year law students gain valuable hands-on experience through field placements with judicial chambers, government agencies, public interest groups and other organizations.

Professor Maurer also teaches Legal Issues in Medicine and previously taught Negotiating for Lawyers, Trial Practice, Fact Investigation and Disability Law. Her article "Addressing Problems of Power and Supervision in Field Placements" was published this past fall in the Clinical Law Review, published by New York University’s School of Law.

Professor Maurer is a member and former co-chair of the New York State Bar Association Committee on Issues Affecting People with Disabilities, and she is the chair of the board of directors for Disability Advocates, Inc.

Prior to joining the Albany Law School faculty, Professor Maurer served as staff attorney for New York State Commission on Quality of Care for the Mentally Disabled and practiced law with a legal services program in Charleston, S.C.

Professor Maurer earned her B.A. from Middlebury College and her J.D. from George Washington University National Law Center.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Receives $84,000 IRS Grant
Date: 06/22/2011

Albany Law School's Low Income Taxpayer Clinic recently received an $84,000 grant from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), one of 165 organizations nationwide qualifying for the IRS's Low Income Taxpayer Clinic grant program.

At Albany Law School's Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, led by Professor Deborah Kearns, students represent low income taxpayers who have disputes with the IRS in both administrative and judicial proceedings.

Types of cases include: 

  • Audits of Tax Returns
  • Notices of Deficiency
  • Failure to File Tax Returns
  • Tax Court Proceedings
  • Tax Liens and Levies
  • Innocent Spouse
  • United States District Court Proceedings
  • Other Controversies Involving Federal Income Taxes

A major focus of the clinic is to help law students learn the skills necessary for exercising professional judgment in interviews, counseling and negotiation - and, as a last resort, in litigation. Students conduct community outreach to find appropriate cases, and they also accept referrals from tax court, local government agencies and community organizations.

Clinic Receives National Award for Individuals with Disabilities Advocacy
Date: 06/22/2011

Professor Bridgit Burke accepted the Clinical Legal Education Association's award for Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project on behalf of Albany Law School’s Civil Rights and Disability Law Clinic earlier this month. 

The clinic, which is part of the Protection and Advocacy system, was honored for community integration efforts by the law students enrolled in the clinic over the last seven years. The law students, who participate as part of their clinical legal education program, have actively investigated incidents of abuse and neglect in facilities operated by the New York State Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), including incidents where individuals were deprived of education, seriously injured and prevented from living and learning in community settings.

As a result of the work done by the students, a statewide system has been put in place to ensure assessments and planning for an individual's discharge. Clients have received meaningful educational programs, and individuals who had for years lived outside of their community have now become a part of their community.

The institution involved has recently been identified in the The New York Times as a place where some staff have physically abused residents and threatened other staff with retaliation if these criminal acts are reported.

There have also been allegations that administrators at the facility are actively stonewalling criminal investigations. The OPWDD has for years attempted to block the investigations by the Civil Rights and Disability Law Clinic and has rigorously defended a law suit filed by the clinic and Disability Advocates, Inc., to overcome the limitations that the OPWDD has placed on their investigations. In addition to the work of these two offices, the law firm of Patterson Belknap has represented the clinic and Disability Advocates in this litigation. 

Next semester, students will be writing a brief for the New York State Court of Appeals on the matter.

Professor Lynch Helps Qatar Faculty Use Innovative Teaching Methods
Date: 03/14/2011
Professor Mary Lynch was invited to spend a week at Qatar University's College of Law to help the faculty implement experiential learning concepts.

Professor Lynch, director of Albany Law School's Center for Excellence in Law Teaching (CELT),  has focused some of her efforts on assisting Albany Law's faculty, but has also been receiving requests for help from other schools.

"The dean of Qatar University's College of Law was referred to the center, then he reviewed our blog, next thing you know he invited us to conduct trainings with the Qatar faculty for a week," explained Professor Lynch. "We're only two years old, but given activity occurring inside and outside the school, we established the center moments ahead of the curve and now we have a national presence."

Recently Professor Lynch presented at New York Law School, Indiana University's law school and several conferences, including the Strategic Alliance of Law Schools. She also co-authored an article with three recognized experts in the field.

"As legal education continues to change in numerous ways, one of those is preparing students differently than we have in the past," said Professor Lynch. "Albany Law School is seen as a school with some expertise in that area."

Prof. Lynch Takes Legal Ed. Reform Message on the Road

As director of Albany Law School's Center for Excellence in Law Teaching (CELT), which launched this past fall, Professor Mary Lynch has been collaborating with colleagues nationwide to develop more practical approaches to preparing students for careers in law.

"A law school can't provide - in three years - everything a student needs for a life-long career as a lawyer," she said. "But law school educators across the country agree that we can and should equip students with the knowledge and skills they need for early success, as well as the reflective and theoretical tools to learn from experience."

Professor Lynch has recently made presentations on legal education reform to faculty at several law schools. She will participate in a panel on "Using Critical Perspectives to Inform Change" at the American Association of Law Schools national Conference on Clinical Legal Education in May, and she is scheduled to make a presentation to Indiana University Maurer School of Law in June.

The main thrust of her efforts, Professor Lynch explained, is "better preparing students for professional practice. How do we help them connect theory with real experiences, working with concepts alongside the changeable nature of real people?"

As a long-standing proponent for legal education reform, Professor Lynch is also the editor and a frequent contributor to the Best Practices for Legal Education blog. Her goals for this blog are to create a place where those interested in the future of legal education can freely exchange ideas, concerns and opinions.

She also hopes to continue developing the CELT Web site into a more useful Web-based source of information on current reforms in legal education and a clearinghouse of resources for use by the national legal education community.

Before launching CELT, Professor Lynch was co-director of the law school's Law Clinic & Justice Center. Prior to joining the Albany Law faculty in 1989, she worked as an assistant district attorney in New York County. A Bronx native, she earned her bachelor's degree from New York University and her law degree from Harvard Law School.

The Albany Law School Clinic and Justice Center is funded, in part, through public grants and private donors. For more information please contact the clinic at 518-445-2328, or give online.