Director of Juvenile Justice Clinic and Professor of Law
Director of Community Economic Development Clinic and Associate Professor of Law
Co-Director of Immigration Clinic and Associate Professor of Law
Director of Family Justice Clinic and Associate Professor of Law
Co-Director of Immigration Clinic and Associate Professor of Law
Visiting Assistant Professor, Immigration Clinic
Director of Kids’ Court School and Education Advocacy Clinic and James E. Rogers Professor of Education and Law
Director of Strasser Mediation Clinic, Associate Director of Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution and Associate Professor of Law
Director of Appellate Clinic and Associate Professor of Law
Interim Director of Externship Program
A Message from Dean Daniel Hamilton
I am proud to share this update on the dynamic work of UNLV Boyd School of Law's clinics and our terrific faculty. Our clinics are a laboratory for justice, with students and faculty collaborating to find solutions to the real-world problems our clients face. Their work happens in the courts, in the legislature, and in the community. For our faculty, cutting-edge scholarship and clinical teaching go hand in hand. Three of our faculty – Elizabeth MacDowell, Fatma Marouf, and Michael Kagan – were named Bellow Scholars by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) for their empirical research. Our Kids’ Court School, the brain-child of Professor Rebecca Nathanson, won a Harvard Bright Ideas award. And we’re excited to welcome two new faculty members – Professors Eric Franklin and Lydia Nussbaum. In addition, more than 130 of our students gained real-world experience last year in our externship program, working in government, public interest, Congressional and state legislative offices, and in judicial chambers.
Justice is at the heart of what we do, and we are proud to be on the vanguard of law, legal education, and scholarship.
Students at the Frontline of the Struggle for Immigrant Justice
In a case that took them across three states, student attorneys Daniela LaBounty and Sihomara Sabas-Arroyo won protection under the Convention Against Torture for a client threatened by international drug cartels. This case represents just one example of how the Immigration Clinic puts student attorneys at the frontlines in court to fight for justice for non-citizens. Under the leadership of faculty Michael Kagan, Fatma Marouf, and Angela Morrison, the clinic has also initiated innovative projects to improve immigrant justice nationally and locally. In fall 2013, the clinic launched a groundbreaking project with the Clark County Public Defender’s Office to advise criminal defendants about the immigration consequences of various convictions. Student attorneys are also conducting field research on conditions in immigration detention. In addition, immigration clinic cases have inspired innovative scholarship. The Association of American Law Schools named Clinic Co-directors Kagan and Marouf as Bellow Scholars for spearheading cutting-edge, empirical research on how federal courts adjudicate immigration appeals.
Student-Led Appellate Victories Yield Real-World Impact
With a record of excellent, precedent-setting advocacy, the Appellate Clinic shows how clinic students' work can change lives, fuel scholarship, and redefine practice. At the heart of the clinic, in which students brief and argue cases before the Nevada Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit, is a commitment to train students to provide the highest level of advocacy for their clients on appeal, when the stakes are high and odds of success are long. In 2012, the clinic, led by Professor Anne Traum and Visiting Professor Angela Morrison (Boyd '05), won relief in two student-argued appeals in the Ninth Circuit. The clinic’s landmark victory in Dent v. Holder, 627 F.3d 365 (9th Cir. 2010), continues to impact thousands of immigration cases, is widely cited by courts and scholars, and inspired Professor Traum's article, Constitutionalizing Immigration Law on Its Own Path, 33 Cardozo L. Rev. 491 (2011).
Juvenile Justice Clinic Helps End Practice of Juvenile Shackling
Over the years, students in the Juvenile Justice Clinic, led by Professor Mary Berkheiser, became increasingly concerned about the practice of indiscriminately shackling every juvenile who appeared in juvenile court. Every juvenile, no matter the nature of the charges, the child’s size, or other personal characteristics, including pregnancy, was ushered into court with leg irons and handcuffs attached to belly chains and locked at the waist, impeding their every gesture as well as their ability to communicate with counsel. Determined to end routine shackling, clinic students created a PowerPoint presentation and began meeting with community groups to educate them about this uncivilized practice. Their efforts were capped by Professor Berkheiser’s article in the Nevada Lawyer calling on officials to unchain the children. Soon, the court did just that, adopting a policy to only shackle those who pose a significant risk of violence or flight. To date, the unshackling has produced only positive results and none of the warned-of problems.
Family Justice Clinic Addresses Collateral Consequences of Convictions on Families
In spring 2013, Family Justice Clinic students Nicolas Donath and Brittnie Watkins gave vital testimony to the Nevada Senate Judiciary Committee on the importance of Senate Bill 395, which requires systematic identification and study of collateral consequences of conviction in Nevada. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed the bill into law, making Nevada only the second state in the nation to adopt such groundbreaking legislation. The law’s enactment culminates a two-year effort by the clinic, led by Professor Elizabeth MacDowell, to advance legislative reforms addressing civil collateral consequences of criminal convictions—consequences that are imposed as a result of a criminal conviction, but that are not part of the sentence. The clinic also partnered with the public defender to provide training on how collateral consequences affect families. Professor MacDowell was named a Bellow Scholar for her empirical research (with Emily Troshynski, Ph.D.) on the role of domestic violence self-help clinics in providing access to justice, and was awarded a $25,000 UNLV Faculty Opportunity Award to fund the project.
Kids’ Court School Wins Harvard University’s Bright Ideas Award
Kids’ Court School, established in 2002 by Professor Rebecca Nathanson, won Harvard University’s 2012 Bright Ideas award. This award is given in recognition of programs that can be models for improving government at different levels. The objective of Kids’ Court School is to educate children and youth between the ages of 4 and 17 about the judicial process while simultaneously decreasing anxiety typically associated with the process. The milestone of 800 clients served was achieved this year.
New Faculty: Eric Franklin and Lydia Nussbaum
Professor Eric Franklin, who joined the Boyd faculty this fall, is designing UNLV’s first transactional clinic. The Community Economic Development Clinic will provide legal advice to small businesses, non-profit organizations, and community associations, and is scheduled to launch in 2014. Eric joined the Boyd faculty after helping establish a similar clinic at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
Professor Lydia Nussbaum is the new director of the Strasser Mediation Clinic. In conjunction with the Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution, the Mediation Clinic provides students the unique opportunity to mediate divorce, child access, private contract, landlord/tenant, and community disputes. Students learn about the theory and practice of mediation and leave the clinic equipped to navigate a key part of today’s legal landscape.