Stanford Law launches religious liberty clinic
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Stanford Law School has launched the nation’s only religious liberty clinic, offering students the opportunity to represent clients in disputes arising from a wide range of religious beliefs, practices and customs.
The clinic was made possible, in part, by a $1.6 million gift from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, based in Washington, D.C.
“Our students will now have a unique opportunity to learn to be lawyers and professionals by taking on the responsibility of representing clients in this ‘old, but new’ field,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, dean of Stanford Law School.
Students will learn the laws affecting religious liberty, whether statutory or constitutional, and will be expected to counsel individual or institutional clients and litigate on their behalf. Each term, students will handle an accommodation project — for example, representing a prisoner, student or employee facing obstacles in the exercise of his or her faith.
Law students also will participate in a longer-term project involving religion in the public square — for example, representing a small church, synagogue or mosque with zoning issues, or a faith-based group seeking access to public facilities.
The clinic’s official launch, held in January, featured a distinguished panel of judges and legal professors, including Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University and associate rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New York.