Institutes and Centers
The Center for Children, Families and the Law
The Center for Children, Families and the Law was established in 2001 in response to the urgent need for more effective representation for children and families in crisis. Its unique collaborative program of interdisciplinary education, community service and research is designed to encourage professionals from law and mental health to work together for the benefit of children and families involved in the legal system.
Parent Education and Custody Effectiveness (P.E.A.C.E.)
is a court-affiliated interdisciplinary educational program for divorcing and separating parents. The program was developed in 1992 by the School of Law and School of Education and Allied Human Services, under the leadership of Andrew Schepard, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Children, Families and the law. The Center is now home to P.E.A.C.E., which is administered by local volunteer providers in 16 counties across New York State, including Nassau and Suffolk. Hofstra Law students participate in P.E.A.C.E. in a variety of ways: they develop curriculum materials; write research papers analyzing trends in child custody law and parent education, several of which have been published in professional law journals; make presentations to professional groups; and help administer programs.
Client Representation Clinic for Children (Practicum)
The Clinic provides representation, with mental health consultation, to a select group of clients. Children involved with the legal system are represented by law faculty and students, and receive mental health consultations with mental health faculty and trainees.
Unified Family Court Demonstration Projects
Center trainees and faculty participate in the planning, implementation and evaluation of models of unified family courts. The model unified courts work to diminish litigation and trauma experienced by children by unifying services and expediting treatment. They also provide coordinated special services to families, including screening for drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, emergency intervention, mediation and P.E.A.C.E., and referral to appropriate services. The model unified courts serve as demonstration models that can be replicated throughout New York state and in other states.
Community Advisory Roundtable
The Center serves as a clearinghouse for local and regional organizations and professionals, as well as students concerned with the welfare of families and children. The advisory roundtable facilitates the collaboration of child and family advocacy organizations, helps develop general strategies for resolving policy issues, and advise the Center on how law and mental health professionals in training can be better educated to work with families and children.
Targeted courses on advocacy pertaining to divorce, child abuse and family violence are taught to law students, as well as child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology trainees, by lawyers, judges and mental health care professionals. These courses enhance the learning experience by employing innovative teaching techniques such as simulated trials and hearings.
The Center for Legal Advocacy
Hofstra Law School offers one of the nation’s most comprehensive programs for hands-on training in the skills of trial and appellate advocacy. This program is brought together under the Center for Legal advocacy, which is designed to train both law students and practicing lawyers in advocacy skills and through traditional classroom teaching, simulation-based courses, moot trial competitions, externships, clinical experiences, and workshops with accomplished practitioners and distinguished faculty.
Hofstra offers a rich variety of courses designed to provide students with the skills necessary to analyze, argue and present cases persuasively at all levels of the legal system and in various dispute resolution settings.
Special courses and programs include:
Advanced Appellate Advocacy
Advanced Criminal Procedure
Advanced Trial Advocacy
Advanced Trial Techniques: Use of Expert Witnesses
Alternatives to Litigation
Courtroom Criminal Procedure
Moot Court Seminar
Legal Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiation
The Prosecutor’s Role: Pretrial Proceedings in a Criminal Case
Selected Problems in New York Civil Practice
Summer Trial Program
Trial Techniques: Comprehensive
Litigation Skills Course
Child Advocacy Clinic - Students represent children in custody, abuse and neglect cases. In addition to traditional advocacy, students may help parents and social welfare agencies develop plans for children through mediation or other alternative dispute resolution techniques.
Criminal Justice Clinic - Students represent defendants in criminal cases in Nassau County District Court and Hempstead and Mineola Village Courts. Students provide thorough and zealous representation and are encouraged to develop novel and creative defenses.
Housing Rights Clinic - Students handle housing cases for low-income clients in state and federal courts.
Political Asylum Clinic - Students represent clients who are fleeing from other countries because of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
Mediation Clinic - Students serve as mediators in actual cases facilitating the resolutions of conflicts.
Continuing Legal Education (CLE)
Hofstra Law School offers attorneys a week-long pro bono training course to perfect their trial skills in representing children who are in trouble. Co-directed by Professors Lawrence Kessler, Director of the Center for Legal Advocacy, and Andrew Schepard, Director of the Center for Children, Families and the Law, this program reflects the commitment of Hofstra Law School to improve the advocacy skills of the profession and its particular concern for the representation of children. This program enhances the Law School’s partnership with North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in an effort to increase and improve the services currently offered to children of the Long Island community. Eminent trial attorneys who have participated in the program include: Albert Krieger (a specialist in criminal defense work) and William Brown (chairman of the Move Commission in Philadelphia). Jurists include Honorable Michael Gage of the Family Court of New York, Honorable Robert Straus of the Criminal Court of New York City and Acting Justice of the Supreme Court for the 12th Judicial District and Honorable Denise Sher of the Nassau County District Court.
Trial teams comprised of law students and coached by prominent faculty compete in national trial competitions throughout the year. Hofstra teams have successfully competed in national competitions such as the National Trial Competition, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (A.T.L.A.), and the prestigious National Criminal Defense Lawyers invitational trial competition. Hofstra’s trial team became the regional champion for Region II of the National Trial Competition in spring 1999, claiming its third title in the prestigious competition. In spring 2000, two Hofstra trial teams advanced to the national rounds – one team winning the Region II National Trial Competition and the other team winning the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s National Student Trial Advocacy Competition.
For over 23 years Hofstra University School of Law has had a relationship with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA). Hofstra now co-sponsors three NITA courses for practicing attorneys - the Northeast Regional Program, the Master Advocates Program and the Deposition Program.
Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics
The Hofstra University School of Law views the subject of legal ethics as a priority and an essential component of legal education. The Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics (ISLE) serves as a research center for the study of legal ethical issues. In addition to offering courses in professional responsibility, ISLE sponsors speakers, conferences and symposia, and provides opportunities for student and faculty research. Hofstra Law Professors Monroe Feedman and Roy Simon, both nationally recognized legal ethics scholars, are codirectors of the Institute.
Hofstra’s first conference on Legal Ethics, held in 1996, featured the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, as keynote speaker. Many nationally recognized authorities on legal ethics, including both professors and practicing lawyers, also delivered papers. The second conference on Legal Ethics was held in Spring 1998, on the topic of access to justice. The keynote speaker was Ralph Nader; Honorable Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was honored at the conference banquet and delivered informal remarks.
The 2001 Legal Ethics conference featured Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Antonin Scalia and brought together leading thinkers on legal ethics. The September, 2003 Judicial Legal Ethics Conference, “Judging Judges Ethics” brought together legal scholars, judges, practitioners, educators and journalists for an interdsciplinary look at judicial conduct.
In March 2003, Hofstra University School of Law hosted a major conference on Marriage, Democracy, and Families, which brought together an interdisciplinary group of distinguished scholars to explore the relationship of marriage and families to self-government.
The Law School has hosted an impressive group of jurists and professors who have lectured on various aspects of legal ethics. Distinguished lecturers have included Professor Charles Ogeltree, Jr. (Harvard Law School), Professor Sam Dash (Georgetown University Law Center), Professor Sissela Bok (Brandeis University), Judge John T. Noonan (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit), William Simon (Stanford University), Abby Smith (Georgetown University), and Katherine Van Wezel Stone (Cornell Law School).
The Center for Volunteer Service in the Public Interest
Since 1991 this voluntary pro bono project has provided students with the opportunity to engage in volunteer law-related activities. The U.A.C. (Unemployment Action Center), a student-run organization that provides free counseling and advocacy services to jobless persons seeking unemployment benefits.
Child Advocacy Fellowship
Each year, Hofstra Law School , in conjunction with the Center for Children, Families and the Law, selects up to six (6) Fellows from among students admitted to the entering J.D. class. Fellows receive scholarship assistance and internship experience, and pursue an interdisciplinary course of study that provides the knowledge and skills needed to advocate effectively for the interests of children and families.
Fellowships are awarded to students who intend to pursue careers in child and family advocacy. The fellowship is awarded for one year, but may be renewed annually based on satisfactory academic performance and full participation in program activities and internships. Fellows are required to maintain a “B” average in their law schoolwork.
Fellows are required to attend various program functions (such as meetings or lectures) and must meet occasionally with the directors. Each student is expected to reserve a two-hour block of time on Monday evenings to accommodate such activities. During the spring of the first year, Fellows attend a non-credit Child Advocacy Seminar that discusses different aspects of child advocacy and family law practice, and introduces Fellows to the Center’s activities and curriculum. In the summer after their first year, students complete a 10- week externship approved by the Director. This externship, supported by a fellowship stipend, enables students to integrate the practical experience of full-time work with a government agency, legal assistance office, public interest law office, or legislative committee, for example, with their formal legal training. At the end of the summer, each student is required to submit a written report on his or her summer externship to the Director. Students must also perform administrative and other c u rricular responsibilities not listed here. Such tasks are not onerous and are assigned to individual students by the Director.
After graduation, Fellows are expected to use their specialized training to represent the legal interests of children and families. If a graduate is unwilling or unable to meet this expectation, he or she has an obligation to reimburse Hofstra for all fellowship support so that these monies can be reinvested in future Fellows.
Fellows are selected on the basis of academic ability, leadership potential and, most important, their commitment to using their legal training to promote the welfare of children and families. The academic achievement and aptitude of applicants are considered carefully by the selection committee. Primary attention is also paid to a candidate’s demonstrated commitment to service to families and children, and to potential for civic leadership. Finally, an affirmative attempt is made to ensure the diversity of each entering class of Fellows.
Fellowship for Advocacy for the Equality of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered People
In 2002 Hofstra University established an unprecedented fellowship program for students engaged in advocacy on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community. The program is designed to demonstrate Hofstra’s commitment to equality and support for LGBT individuals.
The Law School ‘s participation in the Hofstra University LGBT fellowship program includes the Fellowship for Advocacy for the Equality of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered People. Each year, the Law School will award fellowships to up to three (3) incoming J.D. students with a history of advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community. The fellowship includes:
- A tuition fellowship of up to $20,000 for each year of law school.
- A $5,000 stipend to support a summer externship related to LGBT advocacy.
- A comprehensive course of study devoted to equality, including courses in Sexuality and the Law, Sex Discrimination, Jurisprudence, and an independent study and tutorial designed to address issues of particular concern to the LGBT community.
- Experience in legal advocacy for the LGBT community through the Law School ‘s externship program which places students with nonprofit organizations, including those devoted to legal advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community.
- Participation in a mentoring program with LeGal, the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association of Greater New York, representing one of the most diverse legal practice communities in the United States inclusive of LGBT individuals.
Fellowships are awarded to students who have demonstrated a commitment to advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community. The fellowship is open to persons of all sexual orientations in recognition of the diversity of individuals who may ally themselves with sexual equality, and to underscore the importance of alliances between the LGBT community and the community at large.
Fellowship recipients are selected on the basis of demonstrated academic ability and experience with advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community prior to law school, which may include political activity, aid to LGBT social support networks, participation in events that promote the visibility of LGBT people, and other forms of charitable or philanthropic activity.
Consideration is also given to an applicant’s plans for advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community that makes use of a law degree.
Howard and Iris Kaplan Memorial Lecture Series
The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, Inc., has established an endowment for an annual lecture series in public interest law in memory of Howard Kaplan, a prominent attorney. The lecture series has hosted visits by a long list of distinguished jurists who address the student body, faculty and members of the Hofstra community. Recent Kaplan Lecturers include:
The Honorable Shirley S. Abrahamson
Justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court
The Honorable Richard S. Arnold
Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
The Honorable Stephen Breyer
Former Circuit Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit; currently Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
The Honorable Guido Calabresi
Circuit Judge , U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
The Honorable Harry T. Edwards
Circuit Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
The Honorable Patrick E. Higginbotham
Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
The Honorable Alex Kozinski
Circuit Judge , U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
The Honorable Abner J. Mikva
Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
The Honorable Jon O. Newman
Senior Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
The Honorable James L. Oakes
Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
The Honorable Antonin Scalia
Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
The Honorable Dolores K. Sloviter
Chief Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
The Honorable Ralph K. Winter
Chief Judge , U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Theodore Roosevelt American Inn of Court
The Law School participates in the American Inns of Court Program, which is patterned after the English Inns of Court, to enable new lawyers and law students to apprentice with judges and experienced barristers. Selected Hofstra Law School students and recent graduates meet regularly with prominent state and federal judges, highly skilled litigators and Hofstra Law School professors to discuss substantive legal issues.
The Law School hosts a visiting scholar for a two- to four-day period at least once and sometimes twice a year. The visiting scholar generally conducts classes, delivers an address to students and faculty, and meets with students and faculty informally at receptions and other gatherings. Recent Scholars-in-Residence include: Professor William N. Eskridge (Georgetown University Law Center), Professor Randall Kennedy (Harv a rd), Professor Carrie J. Menkel-Meadow (Georgetown University Law Center), Professor Jesse H. Choper (University of California at Berkeley), Professor Marc S. Galanter (Wisconsin), Professor Morton J. Horwitz (Harvard), Professor Harold Koh (Yale), Professor Charles R. Lawrence (Stanford), Professor Catharine A. MacKinnon (University of Michigan School of Law) Dean Michael Marchenko (Moscow State University), Professor Mari J. Matsuda (University of Hawaii), Professor Michael Olivas (University of Houston Law Center), Professor Cass Sunstein (University of Chicago), and Professor Akhil Reed Amar (Yale).
Study Abroad Programs
The Law School offers a four-week Summer Study Abroad Program in Nice, France, in cooperation with the Faculté De Droit de l’Université de Nice. The program is taught by law faculty from Hofstra and other universities. Each of the courses offered either has an international focus or compares American and European approaches to the law. Law classes are conducted in English. The program is open to students who have completed at least the first year of law school and who are currently in good standing at any ABA-accredited law school as well as to graduates of such approved schools. Prominent jurists frequently participate in the program. In 1995, 1999 and 2003, during the first and second weeks of the program, the Honorable Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, taught a two-credit course, Comparative Constitutional Law, with Professor Leon Friedman. The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, taught Comparative Constitutional Law in the program during the summers of 1997, 2001 and 2004. Other prominent judges who have taught in the program included Judge Guido Calabresi, Circuit Court Judge for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (1998); the Honorable Pierre Leval, Circuit Court Judge for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (2000); the Honorable Richard Conway Casey, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York (2001 and 2003); and the Honorable Betty Weinberg Ellerin, Presiding Justice, Appellate Division, First Department, New York State Unified Court System (2001).
In addition, the Law School offers a winter international and comparative law study abroad program in the Carribean island of Curaçao. Held in collaboration with Baltimore University School of Law and Erasmus University Rotterdam Faculty of Law, the Winter Study Abroad Program in Curaçao offers law students an opportunity to study comparative and international law in a unique setting, without forgoing summer legal internships and other employment opportunities. Students in the program are able to earn up to four law school credits in three weeks of study. The Law School also cooperates with the University of North Carolina in a summer study abroad program in Sydney, Australia.
The Law School also offers a two-week international and comparative law summer study abroad program in Sorrento, Italy. Students will enroll in two courses, each worth one credit, for a total of two credits. The classes will be taught by distinguished faculty from Hofstra University School of Law and will focus on cutting-edge issues in International and Comparative Law. Students will have the option of combining their participation in the Sorrento program with Hofstra Law School’s study abroad program in Nice, France or possibly with other study abroad programs in Europe. Combining the Nice and Sorrento programs will enable students to earn six credits in six weeks of study in Europe. CLE credit for practicing attorneys may be available.
The study abroad program is open to students who have completed at least the first year of law school and who are currently in good standing at any ABA-accredited law school, as well as to graduates of such approved schools.