Women and the Law Clinic
Professor Ann Shalleck
Professor of Law
Director, Women and the Law Clinic
- Kate Sablosky Elengold
Sr. Administrative Assistant
Student attorneys in the Women and the Law Clinic represent clients in cases spanning family law, immigration, public benefits, domestic violence, employment, housing, education, and student debt, all with a focus on how clients’ gender, race, nationality, disability, and economic status affect their experiences in the legal system and within the lawyer-client relationship. Student attorneys treat each client not as a “case” but as a complex person who may be facing one legal problem or many. Students advocate and problem-solve in a wide range of contexts. They represent clients in litigation and administrative actions in courts and agencies in the District of Columbia and in Maryland. They also represent clients outside of court to set up legal frameworks that structure relationships, as when they draft a will or amend a birth certificate.
Students learn to use the work of legal theorists who illuminate experiences of inequality, exclusion, or discrimination in understanding clients’ problems and devising effective solutions. Students challenge assumptions, whether about the legal system, an opposing party, their clients, or themselves. They learn how lawyers can make a difference in the lives of clients and bring about change. They also bump up against the limits of law.
Students, working in teams, have full responsibility for representing their clients. They have extensive client contact and engage in vigorous fact investigation; negotiate resolution of problems; hone their legal research and writing through client opinion letters, complaints, motions, legal memoranda, and written communications with government agencies and with opposing counsel. Students prepare for and conduct hearings and arguments in court and administrative proceedings.
The clinic is a supportive environment in which students learn how to develop and implement analytical, strategic and practical skills and knowledge in ways that they can carry with them throughout their lives as lawyers.