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Clinical Education at UT Law

Real Cases. Real Experience.

Human Rights Clinic

Student Experience

“Being in the Human Rights Clinic was both challenging and rewarding. Having the opportunity to work on real-life projects with clients has made my study abroad year at UT a unique experience.”
—Fraser Grant, LLB, ’15, The University of Edinburgh (Clinic student in spring 2014)

“The Human Rights Clinic was the highlight of my semester as a reciprocal exchange student [from Switzerland] at UT Law. I had the possibility to visit indigenous peoples in the Texas-Mexico border area and develop and participate in an advocacy initiative before an international human rights body.”
—Laura A. R. Schurr, MLaw, ’14 (Clinic student in fall 2013)

Ana Pecoraro, Laura Schurr, and Julia Furlong with Dr. Margo Tamez (left to right) at the border wall near the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.

“I was given the opportunity to travel to Argentina and meet the affected population in Abra Pampa first hand. That experience has been a point of interest for job interviews since then, and the freedom and independence I was afforded to craft an advocacy strategy has taught me a great deal about human rights.”
—Luis Soberon, J.D., ’15 (Clinic student in fall 2013)

“The human rights clinic is an excellent opportunity to help people from all across the globe, to further develop your research and writing skills, and to gain a strong understanding of the human rights landscape generally. I strongly recommend the clinic to anyone interested in human rights issues; whether you aspire to be a human rights advocate or if you would simply like to help out a good cause while here at UT Law.”
—Albert Suarez IV, J.D., ’15 (Clinic student in fall 2013)

“The Human Rights Clinic was an academic experience of a lifetime. The clinic challenged my understanding of human rights law and my role as a law student working within the human rights movement.”
—Cat McCulloch, J.D., ’14 (Clinic student in fall 2012)

Cat McCulloch visits the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, in fall 2012.

“The clinic is an elaborate combination of project work and interactive classroom sessions. I was thrown in at the deep end of my projects from the very start, teaching me both to quickly take responsibility for them and to rapidly ensure that I was on top of things. In addition to the fast-paced project work, the interactive classroom sessions allow for thorough reflections on crucial human rights issues. The clinic significantly deepened my knowledge in the human rights field and provided me with a variety of vital soft skills, including an enhanced understanding of team dynamics, time management, stress management, strategic legal thinking, and intercultural skills. The wealth of knowledge and experience gained in the course of the clinic will be invaluable to my legal career and I would highly recommend students to attend this program.”
—Ramon Setz, LLM (Switzerland), ’12 (Clinic student in fall 2011)

“The human rights clinic was an extremely valuable experience for me primarily because I was given the chance to do work on actual cases involving real people.  Working on the Guantanamo project is something I will never forget.”
—Marshall Mundy, J.D., ’14 (Clinic student in fall 2012)

Will Chambers, Kelley McIlhattan, and Mark Dawson (left to right) visit the United Nations in Geneva in fall 2012.

“My work with the Human Rights Clinic was the most rewarding experience of my time at law school.  To see the final effects of our work when both projects were finalized and public awareness of the issues was captured was an unforgettable experience!  To strategize the direction of your projects with your team and Professor Dulitzky allows you take control.  It filled me with a personal sense of responsibility and a determination to surpass even my own expectations. I quickly learnt that being prepared to think outside the box will definitely help you to make the most of the opportunities the Clinic provides!”
—Grace Beecroft, LL.B. Law with American Law (UK), ’11 (Clinic student in fall 2011)

“The Human Rights Clinic provides a great opportunity to be exposed to different types of projects that attorneys are involved with in the actual practice of public international law. If you are considering a career in human rights law, there is no other law school class that will give you this type of exposure. Ariel's dedication to the students and impressive background in human rights practice really makes the clinic experience worthwhile.”
—Laura Hoffmann, J.D., ’12 (Clinic student in fall 2011)

Matthew Dunlap in class in spring 2010.

“I enjoyed being a part of the Human Rights Clinic because it provided a venue to becoming a human rights advocate. I enjoyed contributing to the human rights agenda and discourse though the harsh reality of how much more there is to be done always loomed. My work with the clinic showed me the importance of human rights clinics at UT and elsewhere and their great contribution to human rights.”
—Ala Ahmad, Master of Global Policy Studies, ’13 (Clinic student in fall 2012)

“As an exchange student, working with the Clinic made my year in Texas truly unique. The Clinic was a fascinating and highly rewarding insight into the world of legal human rights work and professional legal work generally.”
—Andrew Nicholson, Exchange M.A. (UK), ’12 (Clinic student in spring 2012)

Clinic students Meghan Vail, Emily Spangenberg, and Danielle Nasr visit Abra Pampa, Argentina, and conduct a fact-finding investigation there in spring 2009.

“The Human Rights Clinic was a major highlight of my time at law school. In the clinic I had the opportunity to work on major impact cases, including preparing memos for international hearings, advocating for children rights in the Americas, and declassifying government files containing human right violations in Latin America. These practical experiences, coupled with the classroom dialogue, were essential in preparing me for a career as a human rights advocate.”
—Trevor Sharon, J.D., ’13 

“The Human Rights Clinic has been instrumental in providing me with a framework to understand the realities of work in the field of international human rights.”
—Will Chambers, J.D., ’13

Clinic students Anjela Jenkins, Susan Orton, and Brandon Hunter (left to right) visit the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica, in spring 2010.

“There are plenty of amazing courses to choose from at UT Law. This will certainly pose a great dilemma to you, especially as an L.L.M. student, during your way-too-short one year Master’s program. That was my situation before applying to the Human Rights Clinic. I was fortunate enough to have been accepted. I have to say that this could not have worked out for the better. Before coming to UT Law I had already studied and worked on human rights issues for years. However, my experience in the Clinic was outstanding and unique in ways that I could have never expected. One of the projects that I got to work on concerned my home country, Mexico. The Clinic allowed me to take a different approach to familiar issues and, surprisingly, my Clinic work probably ended up having a greater impact than any of my other previous projects.  The timing was crucial in the project’s success, but it was my colleagues' high level of preparation, commitment and strategy that made it happen. I am very proud to have been a part of the Clinic and of what we accomplished.”
—Santiago Mesta, LL.M., ’11

“I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to work with the Human Rights Clinic over three semesters—first as a volunteer, then as a student, and continuing as an advanced student. Throughout my time I worked with other students on projects that illuminated different aspects of human rights advocacy. I wrote an amicus curiae brief before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and submitted two reports to international human rights bodies; one affected the system in which we practice, and the other affected the substance of the rights we’re trying to protect. Throughout these different experiences, Ariel taught us to constantly consider the theory and broader implications of our work: What methods work best? How can we create channels for people to advocate for their own rights? What unintended consequences could our work have, and how can we avoid them? In considering these questions, the Clinic has given me both the practical experience and the theoretical understanding to be a conscientious human rights advocate.”
—Stacy Cammarano, J.D., ’10

Clinic Director Ariel Dulitzky (right) attends a hearing conducted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

“My experience with the HRC during the spring, summer, and fall of 2011 allowed me to gain experience on researching and taking action to advocate for social justice and human rights. I had a few growth spurts that year as the Clinic’s director constructively challenged us to take responsibility for our advocacy work and use multiple levels of pressure on Argentine authorities so that they would fulfill their obligations in Abra Pampa. Through the HRC, I gained the experience I looked for in graduate school, I have developed skills that I will use in years to come as I work to support the rights of peoples that have been marginalized throughout the Americas.”
—Jessica Osorio, M.A. in Latin American Studies, ’11

“While the Human Rights Clinic was filled with great memories for me, one experience made more of an impression than others. My partner and I were lucky enough to conduct field work in Ghana for our project on communities affected by mining. This field work consisted of interviewing various government officials, non-profit workers, and community members living near mining sites. While each interview was an eye-opening experience, one interview in particular stood out. It had been a long day in the heat and Joanna was our last interview for the day. At the end of each interview, my partner and I would ask the interviewee if they had anything to ask us before we concluded. Joanna, rather than asking a question, said she had something to say. With tears in her eyes, Joanna said she knew my partner and I were well educated, and could spend our lives making significant amounts of money if we wanted. But, she continued, when you have your degree, don't forget about people like me, who are helpless and vulnerable. She said she knew that she did not have much to offer us, but that we could offer her so much just by trying to help. I don't think Joanna knew how much she offered to me that day. While I've always known I want to pursue a career in this field, hearing and seeing the impact human rights law can have on those who most need the law on their side, left an indelible mark.”
—Nita Garg, J.D., ’11

Anjela Jenkins visits San José, Costa Rica, in October 2010.

“After two semesters in the Human Rights Clinic, I feel that I've gained valuable experience doing human rights reporting and advocacy work. I thought I wanted to pursue a career in human rights work when I started the Clinic, and now I'm sure that I want to and I feel prepared for the multidisciplinary workload that a human rights career will entail.

During my first semester in the HRC, I had the opportunity to work on a press release about the first major report produced by the Clinic. I helped diffuse the report and press release to the media, as well as to individuals and organizations in the government and non-profit sectors. That seemed unbeatable, but during my second semester I went on a fact-finding mission to Costa Rica and helped author a report about indigenous peoples' rights in the face of a hydroelectric project planned in the country's Southern Zone.

The Human Rights Clinic is an experience I think is priceless for those who want to pursue a career in human rights, and an excellent opportunity even for those with only a passing interest in the topic. Ariel Dulitzky is a great professor, supervisor, and mentor, and the HRC has been the most enriching opportunity of my law school career thus far!”
—Anjela Jenkins, J.D., ’11

“The Human Rights Clinic has probably been my most substantive and influential law school experience. Given my future aspirations to work in the human rights field, I welcomed and appreciated the rigor and depth of the HRC. Without a doubt, the HRC was a demanding course, but it was an authentic and realistic glimpse of what true human rights work is like. Professor Dulitzky's vision and high standards inspired high-quality research, writing, and professional work habits. I was fortunate enough to have a richly diverse HRC experience that spanned research, interviewing, and long-distance collaborations.
The highlight of my law school career was being able to go to Ghana as part of a field research trip for the HRC. There, my clinic partner and I interviewed community members who were affected by mining activities. Seeing the concrete, immediate, and serious needs of the Ghanaians was a visceral reminder of what my law degree is all about: helping those who are voiceless and being exploited. I never thought that I would be able to travel to Africa, and being able to go there with the firm purpose of the HRC made it all the more incredible. Translating those experiences into a human rights report to be widely distributed will hopefully raise awareness of this tragic human rights situation. Upon leaving a certain community, an old woman stopped me, looked me straight in the eye, and said, ‘Please, you must do something.’ I struggled not to give her any false promises or hopes, but assured her I would do all I could. After being in the HRC for an entire year, I feel that this report is an important first step in responding to that elderly woman's plea. I hope that subsequent students in the HRC, as well as my personal work, can strengthen that response.
I am glad I concluded my law school career with the HRC. I would not have done it any other way.”
—Melvin Huang, J.D., ’10

This is part of the class from the first semester of the Human Rights Clinic in spring 2009, including Sara Leuschke, Chris Willett (back row, left to right), Emily Spangenberg, Annie Depper, Prof. Ariel Dulitzky (middle row), and Meghan Vail, and Danielle Nasr (bottom row).  Photo by Steph H. Swope.