Jan 14, 2013 / 05:05 pm
Beginning this term, students at Stanford Law School have the opportunity to gain knowledge and real-world experience by participating in the nation’s first religious liberty clinic.
“The launch of this new clinic is a significant moment in the development of Stanford’s clinical program,” said Stanford law professor Lawrence Marshall, who serves as associate dean for clinical education.
“The Religious Liberty Clinic is unique in the country, and will expose our students to issues that will expand their horizons while developing their expertise as lawyers,” he explained in a Jan. 14 statement announcing the start of the clinic.
To mark the program’s official inauguration, Stanford Law School hosted a Jan. 14 public reception and panel featuring respected religious liberty attorneys, law professors and judges.
The one-of-a-kind Religious Liberty Clinic will offer law students real-world experience in representing diverse clients and defending a wide span of religious beliefs and practices in various situations. It will provide opportunities for practice in the areas of administration, trials and appeals, as well as drafting amicus briefs.
The program will allow students to learn both statutory and constitutional law on religious freedom and to counsel and litigate for individual or institutional clients.
Students will represent clients seeking accommodations to practice their faith freely and will aid in long-term projects regarding religious expression and access in the public square.
The initial cases taken up by the clinic include efforts to help an inmate who has recently converted to Judaism to secure permission for an in-prison circumcision and an amicus brief supporting Native American religious practices.
In addition, the clinic is planning to handle cases involving free exercise of religion in public schools, zoning for a house of worship and employment accommodations.
The Religious Liberty Clinic is made possible partly by a gift of $1.6 million from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit institute that defends religious freedom for all faiths.
“The Becket Fund is proud to fund this extraordinary clinical legal program to teach future lawyers how to defend human dignity and a natural right,” said Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz, executive director of the Becket Fund. …
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