Our Featured Projects & Programs
The Paralegal Pathways Initiative seeks to amplify the talents and perspectives of formerly incarcerated individuals by connecting them with employment opportunities in the legal field and preparing them to navigate these professional opportunities. This initiative will also build awareness of the criminal legal system and its consequences among law students and future legal professionals, and promote the leadership of justice-impacted individuals. Ultimately, this Initiative seeks to serve as a national model for other law schools to replicate—illustrating how participatory learning and collaboration can create economic opportunity, advance racial equity, and expose the legal profession to an untapped wealth of experience and talent. Click here to learn more about this groundbreaking program.
This Spring 2021 course and practicum, the first of its kind, will enable participants to blend artistry, law, policy, and community engagement, and in this way to produce narratives with powerful impact in policy spaces where change can happen. The course will equip law students to tell powerful stories--themselves and in collaboration with artists and community members--and use legal knowledge and skills to amplify artists’ and community activists’ impact in venues where laws are made and power is exercised. The workshop will also build artists’ capacity to merge high quality, high impact, rigorous artistry with community narratives and research & high level policy activists. In the process all the participants will work with community members to amplify the power of their stories through artistry informed by legal and policy research. With criminal justice and education as the policy focal point, the workshop will enable participants to craft and enact compelling stories about justice and injustice in “theaters for change” where they can shift hearts and minds of thought leaders and policy makers. Click here to learn more about the course and how to apply.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its tragic spread through carceral institutions and the country, Columbia Law School's Center for Institutional and Social Change, UCLA Law School's COVID-19 Behind Bars Data Project, The Bronx Defenders, and Zealous are announcing the official launch of the Health is Justice litigation hub, a new resource specifically intended for lawyers, advocates, journalists, and others who share the interest of challenging, remedying, and drawing attention to the grave risk that COVID-19 poses to people in detention. The litigation hub is a component of Health is Justice, a broader advocacy project that aims to decarcerate and replace punishment with public health. Click here to learn more about the project, and how to get involved.
Clifford Chance chooses the Center for Institutional and Social Change as winner of the 2021 Racial Justice Award
Leading international law firm Clifford Chance has named Columbia Law School's Center for Institutional and Social Change as the winner of its Racial Justice Award. The organisation, which is based in New York, will receive a £50,000 (US$70,000) donation and 500 hours of pro bono support over an 18 month period supporting its Paralegal Pathways Initiative, responding to the persistent racial injustice in the United States' criminal legal system.
Read about what Columbia Law students and our own center is doing for pro bono efforts in the wake of COVID-19. To access the full article, click here.