Amid a reckoning against police violence and racial injustice, 14 law school clinics and 34 law firms have, to date, partnered with the ACLU of Louisiana’s campaign to dismantle racially discriminatory policing practices. The initiative, called “Justice Lab: Putting Racist Policing on Trial,” aims to bring a wave of lawsuits challenging racially motivated stops, seizures, searches, false arrests, and uses of force in Louisiana.
The 14 law school clinics joining the initiative today include:
- Boston University School of Law's Clinical and Experiential Programs
- Cardozo Law’s Civil Rights Clinic
- Fordham Law School’s Federal Litigation Clinic
- Georgetown Law’s Appellate Courts Immersion Clinic
- NYU School of Law's Civil Rights Clinic
- Penn Law’s Appellate Advocacy Clinic
- Penn State Law’s Civil Rights Appellate Clinic
- Seton Hall School of Law’s Center for Social Justice
- Southern University Law Center's Externship Program
- Tulane Law School’s Civil Rights & Federal Practice Clinic
- UC Irvine School of Law’s Civil Rights Litigation Clinic
- University of Georgia School of Law's Appellate Clinic
- University of Texas Law School's Supreme Court Clinic
- William & Mary Law School’s Appellate & Supreme Court Clinic
“We are investing early in exposing young lawyers to impact litigation. In partnering with both law-school clinics and law firms, Justice Lab seeks to train the next generation of lawyers in civil-rights litigation. By engaging young people in this movement and building a pipeline of lawyers armed with the tools and experience to combat racial injustice, we can end the epidemic of legally sanctioned racist police violence and help promote a safer and more just future for all,” said Alanah Odoms Hebert, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana.
The 16 law firms joining the initiative today include:
- Alston & Bird LLP
- Ballard Spahr LLP
- Dorsey & Whitney LLP
- Fish & Richardson PC
- Gilbert LLP
- Kirkland & Ellis LLP
- Kutcher Tygier & Luminais, LLP
- Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
- Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
- Perkins Coie LLP
- Proskauer Rose LLP
- Sidley Austin LLP
- Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
- The Law Office of Anthony Cecutti
- The Law Office of Jennifer R. Louis-Jeune
- Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC
“We are proud to join forces to ensure fair and equitable policing in Louisiana,” said William C. Silverman, Pro Bono Partner at Proskauer.
“This is a critical moment, an inflection point in America’s history,” said Anthony Cecutti and Jennifer R. Louis-Jeune. “It is time to fully reckon with the truth—that racist practices, rooted in America’s history of slavery and white supremacy, permeate and persist in the legal system and policing. Our law offices are proud to partner with the ACLU of Louisiana and the Justice Lab.”
“Recent events have starkly illustrated the continuing scourge of racially biased and abusive policing in this country, as well as the urgency of addressing that problem in a comprehensive way. By systematically challenging even low-level abuses of police power, the ACLU of Louisiana’s Justice Lab initiative presents a bold new paradigm that uses existing legal tools to attack, and ultimately eliminate, deeply embedded racist police practices. Fish is proud to contribute to this important and timely pro bono effort,” said Lawrence Kolodney, Pro Bono Chair of Fish & Richardson PC.
“At this time, everyone—particularly those in the private bar—must greatly expand their efforts to address systemic racism at every level,” said Richard Leveridge of Gilbert LLP. “Gilbert has since its founding been committed to social and racial justice, and we are thrilled to join the ACLU of Louisiana’s Justice Lab initiative as a natural extension of that commitment.”
“As lawyers, we all should have a commitment to justice and equality,” said Robert Kutcher of Kutcher, Tygier & Luminais, LLP. “That includes taking steps to ensure that racial injustice, while part of our past, is not part of our future. Our firm is proud to be part of that effort.”
“Wilson Sonsini is deeply committed to aiding in efforts aimed at achieving racial justice across the country. We are energized to join the ACLU of Louisiana’s Justice Lab project,” stated Luke Liss, Pro Bono Counsel and Litigation Of Counsel.
“At Dorsey & Whitney, we believe law firms have an obligation to challenge the deeply rooted injustices that pervade our legal system. We are honored to take part in an initiative that marshals the resources of the legal community towards the long-overdue goal of eradicating racist policing once and for all,” said RJ Zayed and Alissa Smith, Co-Pro Bono Partners.
“By scaling up, over time, the number of lawsuits challenging the discriminatory practices of individual police officers, Justice Lab fills a critical unmet need to challenge not only the most egregious acts of brutality but also the everyday abuses that fuel a culture of impunity across policing,” said Nora Ahmed, Legal Director of the ACLU of Louisiana.
“The Supreme Court Clinic at Texas Law is grateful for this opportunity for our students to learn about the work of Supreme Court counsel while participating in a groundbreaking social-justice initiative,” said Lisa Eskow, Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the Clinic. “Our Clinic has hit the ground running by developing a primer on qualified immunity and Section 1983 litigation strategy, which will be used in the Justice Lab’s trial-lawyer training program.”
“Involving our students in this important work perfectly meshes our dual commitments to social justice and teaching the next generation of public-interest advocates,” said Brian Wolfman, Director of Georgetown Law’s Appellate Courts Immersion Clinic.
“Our students are passionate about dismantling systems that perpetuate the abuse of citizens’ civil rights with impunity,” said Dwayne Sam, who co-directs William & Mary’s Appellate & Supreme Court Clinic. “Through this partnership, we commit ourselves to continuing these efforts to advance racial and social justice in Louisiana.”
“The Tulane Civil Rights and Federal Practice Clinic has long been committed to challenging racial injustice and dismantling systems of oppression wherever they exist,” said Lucia Blacksher Ranier, the Clinic’s Director. “We’re excited that our law students will have the opportunity to take part in this effort.”
“We’re thrilled that our law students will be assisting others whose ultimate goal is to expose and end racist policing. Fordham Law School’s Federal Litigation Clinic has long been committed to holding our critical institutions accountable when they fail in their mission to serve and protect society’s most vulnerable,” said Michael Martin, the Clinic’s Co-Director.
“The Penn State Law Civil Rights Appellate Clinic is proud to join the Justice Lab’s timely and essential efforts to eradicate racist policing and assure our country’s law enforcement officers respect and are held accountable to the rule of law,” said Michael Foreman, the Clinic’s Director.
“Today, every person in America is called on to take a stand in America’s centuries-long struggle to be the nation we aspire to be, and our students are ready to join that fight,” said Deborah Archer, Director of the Civil Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law.
“For far too long, good and necessary policing has been overshadowed by discriminatory practices, from racial profiling to excessive force, committed by bad police officers—and too often sanctioned or overlooked by some of their colleagues and superiors,” said Jahmy S. Graham, a partner at Nelson Mullins. “This is not about painting all police officers with a broad brush. Discriminatory policing, however—particularly where the culture of certain police departments reinforce or provide cover for bad actors—is a systemic problem and it demands a systemic response.”
More information and full list of participating law firms and legal clinics is online here.
This online release can be found here.