Students in this project gain firsthand experience in fast-paced litigation and timely and strategic advocacy in a highly contested area of the law, confronting knotty procedural problems as well as substantive constitutional law questions in an area where established doctrine is under siege. Students advocate for reproductive health care providers and their patients, learning the vital importance of client confidentiality, as well as the impact of political movement strategy and management of press and public messaging.
For litigation matters, students work in small teams representing reproductive health care providers and/or patients in cases being handled by attorneys at national organizations. Projects and case assignments will vary according to the posture of the cases, but all will require top-notch legal research, analysis, and writing, as well as strategy meetings with team members. Some cases involve trial level work, including informal fact development, drafting pleadings, discovery, motion practice, and negotiations. Other matters involve appellate briefing.
Students also have an opportunity to develop non-litigation skills by undertaking non-litigation matters involving legislative and regulatory work, public education, and strategic planning, at the federal, state, and local level. Some ongoing matters developed outside the project are carried into the project, including research and development of model legislation to protect reproductive rights at the state level, the appropriate constitutional standards to be applied in challenges to restrictions on the provision of reproductive health services, including abortion and contraception, in light of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and additional projects involving preparation for future litigation on the state and national level or other policy projects promoting access to reproductive health care.
Supervision of the litigation is conducted by the attorneys at national organizations, with assistance from course instructors. Non-litigation matters are supervised by the course instructors with input from those at national organizations where appropriate.