July 18, 2013

UC Irvine Law
401 E. Peltason Drive, Suite 1000 • Irvine, CA 92697-8000

The Local Human Rights Lawyering Project based at the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law provides training, coaching, and mentorship to legal aid attorneys and public defenders with the aim of integrating the human rights framework into daily work at the state and local level in the U.S. The Project has been working closely with two partner legal aid organizations, Maryland Legal Aid and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, for the past year with great success and has developed a Handbook on Human Rights in the U.S. for Legal Aid Attorneys, which is available for download online here.

This summer the Project expanded its reach to encourage additional legal aid attorneys to integrate human rights arguments into advocacy before judges and policy makers, as well as to integrate human rights principles into the client-lawyer relationship and into organizational decision-making systems.To that end, we held a free training at UC Irvine Law on Thursday July 18, 2013. 6 CLE credits were available for attorneys licensed in California.

Hadar Harris, Executive Director of the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law, Lauren E. Bartlett, Local Human Rights Lawyering Project Director, and Paul Hoffman, Professor of Law at UC Irvine Law, facilitated the training.

July 18, 2013 Training Agenda

9:00am – 9:15am – Welcome & Introductions

9:15am – 9:30am – Introduction to the Local Human Rights Lawyering Project

9:30am – 10:30am – Human Rights 101

This session provided a basic overview of human rights law, and the human rights standards and strategies that legal services lawyers can engage to advocate on behalf of their clients.   Participants gained an understanding of the sources of human rights in US law, as well as the international and regional human rights systems that the US participates in and US obligations under human rights law.

10:30am – 10:45am – Break

10:45am – 12:15pm – Human Rights as Applied to Workers Rights & Housing Cases
This session introduced participants to the basic strategies that US advocates can use to bring human rights into their everyday work.  Specifically this session focused on human rights as applied in housing and domestic violence contexts.  It was designed to provide the background necessary to strategically integrate human rights into litigation and advocacy work. Using the Human Rights in the U.S. Handbook for Legal Aid Attorneys, we explored specific examples of persuasive human rights arguments in state and federal court.

12:15pm – 1:15pm – Lunch Break

1:15pm – 3:00pm – Applying Human Rights to Your Cases
Participants broke into groups to go over sample intakes (We asked each participant to bring a sample intake from their office, a fairly common fact pattern for a labor & employment or housing case, with private information removed). Each group chose 1-2 intakes and used the Handbook to design an advocacy strategy, write up human rights arguments, and take the case from intake to completion. Each small group then presented the human rights strategy and arguments for each intake chosen.

3:15pm – 3:30pm – Break

3:30pm – 4:30pm -- Bringing Human Rights Home: Beyond Litigation

This panel explored possibilities for legal aid attorneys to use non-litigation human rights legal strategies in advocating on behalf of their clients. Participants explored legislative and policy advocacy, organizing, education and training, engaging with UN mechanisms, and other ways in which they can incorporate a human rights framework into the attorney-staff relationship.

4:30pm – 5:00pm – Closing Thoughts & Begin Discussion on Where to Go From Here