International Human Rights Clinic   



On July 17, 2013, the School of Law's International Human Rights Clinic, along with co-counsel Jerry Cohen of Burns & Levinson, Stewart Eisenberg of Weinberg & Garber, and Gordon Woodard of Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, filed a petition to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of our client, Mohammed Abdullah Taha Mattan, who has been detained in Guantanamo since June 19, 2002. This is the petition in PDF format (exhibits omitted). This is the accompanying press release (PDF) about the petition. 

The Clinic seminar will provide an overview of the theoretical underpinnings of human rights advocacy, including international legal research, policy analysis, persuasive legal drafting, effective oral advocacy, collaborative lawyering, media and legislative advocacy, investigation and report drafting, creative problem-solving and the development of cross-cultural lawyering competencies. Students will explore the efficacy of litigation, the contested terrain of cultural relativity in human rights norms, and the social, political and economic context that human rights advocates must navigate. The seminar will include guest speakers and simulated exercises.

To integrate the underlying theoretical backdrop of emerging human rights norms with real life lawyering, students in the International Human Rights Clinic will directly participate in contemporary and compelling cases. Through their work on human rights projects, students will explore the relative merits and efficacy of various advocacy mechanisms in the context of real cases. Students will work collaboratively with domestic and international non-governmental organizations, grass-roots organizations, solidarity networks, attorneys, stakeholders, and other institutions engaging in human rights work, to advance political, economic, social and cultural human rights across borders.

Spots available:  8       

Credits: 6 credits which includes Field Placement (4 credits) and Seminar (2 credits).  Satisfies 6 experiential learning credits.     

Grading: Letter Grade

Prerequisites: The clinic is open to students who have successfully completed 28 hours of law studies.

Application: Applications will be accepted for clinic openings in the Spring 2017 semester.

Application Requirements: Resume, unofficial transcript, and International Human Rights Clinic application.

Application DEADLINE Date:  March 2, 2016

Restricted Withdrawal:  This clinic is considered a Restricted Withdrawal Course.  A student who withdraws from this clinic course 30 days prior to the start of the semester shall receive a “W” on their transcript.


Lauren Carasik
Associate Dean for Clinics
Clinical Professor of Law

Professor Carasik is the Director of both the International Human Rights and the Legal Services Clinic. She has practiced law in the elder unit at Merrimack Valley Legal Services in Lowell, MA and at the Center for Public Representation (CPR) in Northampton, MA and founded a solo practice concentrating in disability rights and mental health law. She has also directed the Public Interest Externship Program and run an anti-discrimination and disability clinic at the law school.

To learn more, contact Marie Fletcher, Clinical Programs Administrator, at Tel.: 413-782-1469 or email:



1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield, MA 01119
Main University: 413-782-3111
Admissions: 413-782-1406 or 800-782-6665