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Leitner law center news
The First Year of the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic

The Leitner Clinic works in partnership with non-governmental organizations and foreign law schools on international human rights projects ranging from legal and policy analysis, fact-finding and report writing, and human rights training and capacity-building.

Through real-world human rights advocacy experiences, the Leitner Clinic equips Fordham Law students with the necessary skills to become effective human rights advocates and public interest-minded lawyers. The Leitner Clinic aims to hone students’ skills in legal and factual research, persuasive writing, effective oral advocacy, creative thinking and problem solving, and team work. Fieldwork abroad is also an integral part of the learning experience. Hands-on engagement with practical human rights projects provides law students with a richer and more complete understanding of the real world implications and challenges of human rights advocacy.

Beyond the pedagogical aspects of the Clinic’s goals, we aim to contribute to the work of human rights organizations. In the past year, the Leitner Clinic has partnered with Timap for Justice in Sierra Leone, SANGRAM in India, Addis Ababa Law School in Ethiopia, and the Coalition of Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi on diverse human rights projects focusing on constitutional interpretation, female genital mutilation, HIV/AIDS, child maintenance, and sex workers rights.

Although the Leitner Clinic will work with international and inter-governmental organizations in the future, we are proud of this year’s emphasis on partnering with small grassroots organizations in the Global South that are closest to the most pressing human rights issues on the ground. The Leitner Clinic has benefited greatly from working with partners who are concretely affecting the lives of so many because of their grassroots nature. We are also proud of our joint work with Addis Ababa Law School which has fostered working partnerships between American and Ethiopian law students interested in human rights. The fruitful collaboration between the Leitner Clinic and Addis Ababa Law School will continue in the future.

Upcoming projects will expand the Leitner Clinic’s focus to Cambodia and Liberia, as well as countries in Latin America and the Middle East. In the hopes of sustaining an institutional impact, the Clinic will concentrate its efforts on human rights issues in ten “focus countries” in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States.

Please visit the Leitner Clinic’s website or see the attached document for more information about the Clinic’s work in Ethiopia, India, Malawi, and Sierra Leone during our inaugural year and our dedication to partnering with human rights defenders to promote and protect human rights.

Professor Chi Mgbako
Supervisor, Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic
Fordham Law School

New York City

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Leitner Center for International Law and Justice
Fordham University School of Law
150 West 62nd Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10023 USA

Email: LeitnerCenter@law.fordham.edu
Telephone: 212.636.6862
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Paolo Galizzi
Clinical Professor of Law
Director, Sustainable Development Legal Initiative
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