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  • Civil Rights Appellate Clinic

Civil Rights Appellate Clinic Testimonials

"The Nittany Lion class-members worked very well and quickly with my firm and took account of our comments and those of our client for what in the end is, I am proud to say, an exceptionally fine piece of legal writing and a great exposition of the problem with the way the Fourth Circuit has interpreted the statute that is supposed to protect our men and women in uniform after they get called to the colors to serve our Nation. I am grateful to Prof. Foreman and to his class for their sharp thinking, their tenacity, their ease of expression, and for their great advocacy for our most-deserving client and for all those generations of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who are in a position to benefit from any precedent created by winning cert in this matter."

Adam Augustine Carter
The Employment Law Group, PC

“Michael Foreman and the Penn State Civil Rights Appellate Clinic have worked with NELA on a number of important amicus briefs, including a recent
Supreme Court brief with incredibly complex consequences for a wide variety of workers. The clinic put an extraordinary amount of time and effort into
crafting a well-researched and persuasive brief, which we were proud to file. Professor Foreman and his team drafted a brief that will be vital to ensuring that workers are protected from discrimination in the workplace, and we are grateful for their exceptional work product.”

Ashley Westby
Program Manager, National Employment Lawyers Association

“The National Employment Lawyers Association, an organization committed to empowering workers’ rights attorneys through legal training, promoting a fair judiciary, and advocating for laws and policies that level the playing field for workers, is always thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Michael and The Penn State Civil Rights Appellate Law Clinic. They are an incredible resource, who have produced amicus briefs on NELA’s behalf in numerous Supreme Court cases.  We are a small staff and rely on volunteer resources to draft and edit briefs in cases that will impact the lives of working people across the country. When we work with Michael and the Clinic, we are guaranteeing that a brief going out under our name is of the highest quality. In addition to the quality of his brief, Michael and his team are responsive, open to collaboration, and overall a delight to work with!”

Ashley Westby
Program Manager, National Employment Lawyers Association

“Penn State's appellate clinic brought a critical national perspective to issues that have long plagued our client community in South Texas.  Their amicus brief is thoroughly researched and persuasively articulated.  It includes ideas that we had not developed in years of looking at the problem.  It emphasizes the broad effects of the challenged agency actions in ways that our clients cannot do alone.  We are deeply grateful for their hard work.  Literally millions of families may benefit from it.”

Jerome Wesevich
General Counsel, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

“SBP advocates for innovation and systems change that will result in measurable improvements to the recovery industry. Working with the Penn State Civil Rights Appellate Clinic as a signatory to the Barbosa Amicus Brief provided us with a tool in which we could address one of the most prevalent systemic barriers to swift recovery -- the need for FEMA to publish comprehensible guidance and implement standards for appeals that provide a clear explanation to survivors whose assistance applications are denied. The Clinic’s high-quality work is incredibly meaningful and it was a pleasure to collaborate with the students and Professor Foreman.” 

Reese May
Chief Innovation & Strategy Officer, SBP, Inc.

"The work of Professor Foreman and the students in the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic drafting an amicus brief on our behalf was top notch. The issues related to disaster recovery and FEMA’s treatment of low-income disaster survivors are complex. The participants in the clinic grasped the overall issue and commanded the details despite the very short amount of time they had to prepare the brief. They listened, understood our position and presented it to our complete satisfaction through cogent and persuasive arguments."

John Henneberger
Co-director, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service

“Without the hard work and expertise of the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic, the National Low Income Housing Coalition would not have been able to file an amicus brief in a critical case aimed at addressing some of the significant barriers low income people face when seeking disaster assistance through FEMA. The Clinic took the responsibility for drafting the amicus brief, with input from our organization, allowing us to fulfill our mission in a new way. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the Clinic and hope that these efforts will lead to systemic, nationwide change to ensure that federal disaster recovery efforts reach all households, including those with the lowest incomes.”

Debra A. Susie
Disaster Housing Recovery Coordinator, National Low Income Housing Coalition

“The brief was exceptionally well-written, taking complex arguments and presenting them in a readable and persuasive manner. The way that the brief traced the history of civil rights laws and then engaged in a closer reading of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions will provide very helpful context for the court.”

Oren Sellstrom
Litigation Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice

“NELA was pleased to again have the opportunity to join an amicus brief drafted by Professor Foreman and the students in the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic. The Clinic's work is always first-rate, and its involvement was particularly valuable in Jones because of the legal, historical, and factual complexity of the issues involved on appeal, and the importance of ensuring equal treatment for employees in professionssuch as law enforcementwith deeply imbedded cultures of exclusion."

Matt Koski
Program Director, NELA

I am writing to thank you, Penn State University, the Dickinson School of Law and most specifically, Professor Michael L. Foreman and the students of the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic for their services to me and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals as Amicus Curiae Counsel in Case #10-1919 Ellis v. Ethicon. … it took years for my friends and family to begin to have an understanding of my disability and legal challenges; the Penn St. Civil Rights Appellate Clinic students and assistants grasped and briefed my realities in less than 3 months. Amazing work!  In closing, I want you to know that the value of the efforts of the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic to society and Pennsylvania is incalculable.

Theresa M. Ellis
Client in Ellis v. Ethicon

At a time when workers’ civil rights are under attack, Penn State Dickinson School of Law’s Civil Rights Appellate Law Clinic is a powerful voice in ensuring enforcement of our nation’s anti-discrimination in employment laws. The National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) has been privileged to work with Professor Michael Foreman and the Clinic’s law students on amicus curiae briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, such as Vance v. Ball State, Thompson v. North American Stainless, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Dukes. Most recently, the Clinic drafted NELA’s Fourth Circuit brief in DeMasters v. Carilion Clinic to protect a worker who was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for using established internal complaint mechanisms to notify his employer about the sexual harassment of a co-worker by a supervisor. Professor Foreman and his law students are to be commended and applauded for their exceptional service in the public’s interest to eradicate workplace discrimination and safeguard America’s promise of equal justice under law for all workers.

Terisa E. Chaw
Executive Director, National Employment Lawyers Association

At this time, I would like to say thank you to all who were involved in this civil rights case.  I would like to thank Pennsylvania State University for initiating a program to help with today’s equal rights justice.  I would like to give a special thanks to the students of the Dickinson School of Law for their quick research in order to file the brief before the deadline was reached.  You all did an excellent job coming in at the eleventh hour when all kind of deadlines needed to be met. 

Anthony Smith
Client in Anthony Smith v. John Wilson

The Clinic coordinated the amicus efforts for the case and drafted an amicus brief on behalf of a large number of national civil rights and advocacy organizations. The Clinic’s commitment to the case was amazing and the brief was absolutely stellar. It was first class work product that any law firm who regularly appears in the Supreme Court would be proud to call their own. I want to commend the work you and the Penn State faculty have done to advance the cause of justice. I was extremely impressed by the quality of work product from your students and how well rounded they are.

Brian P. Lauten
Supreme Court Counsel in Nassar v. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

The issues in the Nassar case have vexed even the most experienced employment lawyers for many years. Yet, the Clinic’s students were extremely conscientious, hard-working, and able to distill these complex principles. Overall, it was a genuine pleasure to work with them and Professor Foreman.

Rebecca Hamburg Cappy
Program Director, National Employment Lawyers Association

Thanks to you and your fabulous cadre of students for the excellent brief in the United States Supreme Court in Nassar. Cases like this always present especially tough issues because of the challenges of framing and presenting effectively the implications of the phrasing of various civil rights laws, their varying circumstances of legislative enactment, and the results of various decisions interpreting one of more closely related statutes.

Daniel B. Kohrman
Senior Attorney, AARP Foundation Litigation

Working with the members of the Penn State Law Clinic has been one of the greatest experiences in my almost 40 years, as a lawyer in private practice. Not only was the work first rate, but the ease of process and substantive legal issue identification exhibited commitment to the principals of legal scholarship before the Supreme Court. The Penn State Law Clinic has a real gem; its Chief Counsel, students and support staff are all first rate.

Edward Smith, Jr.

The clinic authored a superb amicus brief that was filed in the United States Supreme Court in an important civil rights case raising crucial issues of access to justice.  The clinic's brief was extremely well written and persuasive, and it played an important role in the broader strategy that the plaintiff and the civil rights community had crafted for the case as a whole.  While I do not know how the case will come out as I write this, the clinic's work was both top notch an essential component of our approach.  I am extremely grateful to the law school and to the clinic for putting together such extraordinarily high quality advocacy on behalf of persons who both have been harmed by racial discrimination and now further face the prospect of the courthouse door being closed upon them.  A number of veteran U.S. Supreme Court practitioners with whom I communicated about the case specifically remarked upon the quality and strength of the clinic's contribution in this matter.

F. Paul Bland, Jr.
Senior Staff Attorney, Public Justice
Counsel for the Respondent in the U.S. Supreme Court in Rent-a-Center v. Jackson

On behalf of the firm, I would like to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to Michael Foreman and the Penn State Civil Rights Clinic for their hard work and dedication to critical civil rights work.  They co-authored an appellate brief we filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and added tremendous value because of their insight into the legal issues and the quality of their workproduct.  It was our pleasure to work with them, and we hope to do so again in the future.

Andrew Loveless
Bernabei & Wachtel, PLLC
Co-Counsel for Petitioner in Ford v. Mansfield

Mr. Foreman, I would like to personally thank you and the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic for assisting me in my representation of Antonio Jackson in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Your assistance in preparing an amicus brief and your participation in the moot court process were both invaluable.  I never imagined I would have such amazing support.  On behalf of myself and Antonio Jackson, a heartfelt thanks.

Ian E. Silverberg
Hardy Law Group
Counsel for the Respondent in the U.S. Supreme Court in Rent-a-Center v. Jackson

We have worked with and signed onto briefs written by the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic of Penn State’s Dickinson School for civil rights case in the 2009 and 2010 Supreme Court terms.  The clinic’s briefs always contain outstanding research, writing and analysis, and the students show an incredible work ethic as they handle multiple edits and looming deadlines with great professionalism.

Sharyn A. Tejani
Senior Policy Counsel, Work and Family Program

The National Women’s Law Center had the pleasure of working with the clinic on several key employment discrimination cases before the Supreme Court and appreciate the important role it has played as an advocate for civil rights. We worked with Professor Foreman on numerous Supreme Court amicus briefs when he was with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, and we are delighted that he is continuing to provide his invaluable expertise with the Penn State Civil Rights Appellate Clinic.

Dina Lassow
Senior Counsel, National Woman’s Law Center

The Penn State Civil Rights Clinic, led by Michael Foreman, provides critically important advocacy on behalf of those seeking to vindicate civil rights.  The Clinic's work on key employment discrimination cases in the 2008 and 2009 Supreme Court Terms was essential.

John Payton
President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.

Professor Foreman and his clinic have provided stellar insights and research for amicus curiae briefs in some of the most critical civil rights cases heard by the Supreme Court in recent years.  Professor Foreman brings with him a substantial body of knowledge gained over the course of an impressive career, and the students in the clinic went above and beyond the call of duty with their enthusiasm and hard work.  We are extremely grateful for their contributions.

Sarah Crawford
Senior Counsel, Employment Discrimination Project, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

During the 2008 Term of the Supreme Court, the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic of Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law co-authored amici briefs with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in two major civil rights cases on the docket.  The high quality of the new clinic's work matched that of seasoned large firms and law school appellate clinics with more experience before the nation's highest court.  In so doing, the Penn State Clinic fulfilled a noble service of the legal profession to provide access to justice for those persons that could not afford such legal representation.

John C. Brittain
former Chief Counsel for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and current professor, David A. Clarke School of Law, University of the District of Columbia. 

I just wanted to say how very much better the clinic has made the brief and this experience. With the time constraints, we never would have been able to do so much without the clinic's work.

Christine Webber
Cohen, Milstein Sellers & Toll
Co-counsel on an amicus brief filed on behalf of 5 national civil rights groups in Gross v FBL Financial Services, Inc.

The Appellate Clinic’s expert testimony in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s October 7 hearing, "Workplace Fairness: Has the Supreme Court Been Misinterpreting Laws Designed to Protect American Workers from Discrimination," cogently pinpointed the legal flaws and practical consequences of the Supreme Court conservative bloc’s decisions to weaken age discrimination protections and to deprive individual employees of access to court via forced arbitration.  The testimony explained why the decisions in question thwarted Congressional intent and require Congressional reversal.

Simon Lazarus
National Senior Citizens Law Center Office

Although I have my license to practice at the U.S. Supreme Court level, your experience and your students’ enthusiasm were essential to press this case forward.  I do not think we could have done this on our own.  I believe you are providing an essential service for civil rights advocates such as myself who do not get to touch the rarefied air of U.S. Supreme Court litigation that frequently.

William D. Rotts
Partner, Rotts & Gibbs, LLC, Attorneys at Law
Co-Counsel on the Petition for Certiorari filed in Gregory et al v. Dillard’s Inc.

Since the founding of the Penn State Civil Rights Appellate Clinic in 2008, Professor Foreman and his team of able students have made an immediate impact through its amicus briefs in the Supreme Court of the United States.  The Clinic’s briefs, which my organization joined, along with other prominent national civil rights groups, have ensured that the voice of those most vulnerable are fully represented before The Court.  The Civil Rights Appellate Clinic is a demonstrated national leader in academia and in the greater appellate bar.

Vincent A. Eng
Deputy Director, Asian American Justice Center