Religious Liberty Clinic

The Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic is the leading and only full-time clinic of its kind in the country. Founded in 2012, the landmark program offers participating students a full-time, first-chair experience representing a diverse group of clients in legal disputes arising from a wide range of beliefs, practices, and circumstances. Students learn in class and engage through reflective and supervised practice the laws, norms, and limits affecting the exercise of religious freedom in a pluralistic society. Students are expected to counsel individual or institutional clients and litigate on their behalf with excellence, professionalism, and maturity. Although religious liberty disputes cut across economic lines, the clinic strives to serve those in need.

In clinic, students typically handle an accommodation project—e.g., represent a prisoner, student, or employee facing obstacles in the exercise of faith—as well as a longer-term litigation or development matter—e.g., represent a small church, synagogue, or mosque with zoning issues, or an individual challenging state preferences for particular beliefs. Opportunities to draft amicus briefs also arise. The clinic involves agency, trial, and appellate practice—though time constraints may not permit each student to work in all areas—under the empowering supervision of faculty and staff. Students work in assigned case teams but are also encouraged to help develop new clients and matters.

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The establishment of the Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic could not have come at a more timely moment. With religious freedom facing a host of novel challenges, it is heartening to know that the resources of a great law school are now available to defend it and to heighten awareness of its centrality to our democratic experiment.

Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University

What a blessing that there finally will be a religious liberty clinic!

Philip Hamburger, Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

The establishment of the Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic marks a milestone in the battle for religious liberty in the United States. These are troubles times for freedom of religion, so the clinic cannot have come along at a more fitting moment. I wish you Godspeed, and all the very best.

Stephen L. Carter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Yale University

My sincere congratulations to Stanford Law School on the establishment of a new clinic devoted to safeguarding “religious liberty for all.

Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University

The new Religious Liberty Clinic will provide a unique opportunity for law students to work on pressing issues at the often uneasy intersections of church and state, freedom and equality, and faith and reason. It is further evidence of Stanford’s leading role in clinical legal education.

Jeffrey Selbin, Clinical Professor of Law, Faculty Director, East Bay Community Law Center, Executive Committee Member, Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, Berkeley Law School

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