New York University School of Law has established a Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, which will allow students to work with faculty and experienced Supreme Court litigators to obtain Supreme Court review, write briefs in merits cases, and moot court other lawyers who are preparing their Supreme Court arguments. Such clinics have become popular at top law schools in the United States, and this term’s Supreme Court docket includes a handful of cases that came through clinics similar to the one NYU has created.
NYU’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic will provide pro-bono representation of prisoners (both prisoner appeals and civil action seeking affirmative relief) and others bringing immigration, environment, civil rights, and other claims against federal, state, and local governments.
The Supreme Court does not authorize student argument. However, students will be engaged in every other aspect of practice before the high court, including: drafting petitions for certiorari and oppositions; drafting merits briefs when working on cases that have been granted review; drafting amicus briefs in cases where other lawyers are representing the parties; and participation in discussions with other counsel, participation in moot courts, and attendance at oral arguments.
In order to give students an opportunity to work on a case they can argue, the clinic may also take on assigned counsel assignments from the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the New York Court of Appeals.
NYU’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, which begins this fall and runs the entire academic year, will be led by NYU’s Dwight D. Opperman Professor of Law Samuel Estreicher, who also is director of the university’s Center for Labor and Employment and co-director of its Dwight D. Opperman Institute of Judicial Administration. He has published several books including casebooks in labor law and employment discrimination and employment law; edited conference volumes on sexual harassment, employment alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes, and cross-global human resources; and authored over 100 articles in professional and academic journals. A clerk to Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Estreicher is of counsel to Jones Day in its labor and employment and appellate practice groups. Estreicher’s appellate practice includes victory in the Supreme Court in the Circuit City v. Adams litigation, broadening the availability of employment arbitration.
The clinic’s other faculty are Donald B. Ayer and Meir Feder, both partners at Jones Day. Ayer, who clerked for Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, is chair of the firm’s pro bono program and of its government regulation practice. Ayer has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court numerous times, served as principal deputy solicitor general under Solicitor General Charles Fried during the Reagan Administration and was deputy attorney general under Attorney General Richard Thornburgh. Feder heads up the issues and appeals practice in Jones Day’s New York Office. He specializes in appellate litigation and in motions and legal strategy in trial court cases. Feder has argued appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court and in five federal circuits, with extensive experience in the Second Circuit. He served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, and clerked for Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter. He has also co-taught the Supreme Court Litigation Seminar at NYU.