Community Justice and Civil Rights Clinic

The Community Justice and Civil Rights clinic works in collaboration with social justice movements on legal and policy strategies aimed at redressing some of the most pressing, urgent issues of our time—namely over-policing and mass imprisonment. Students enrolled in this clinic gain experience in using multiple strategies for social change. The clinic will expose students to various pathways for social change—community organizing, litigation and policy advocacy. At the end of every semester, students will have developed specific litigation skills, gained experience in public speaking and client counseling and participated in the transactional client work associated with legislative and policy advocacy.

Student work often includes:

  • Conducting community based know your rights trainings in Chicago’s communities most affected by police violence and mass imprisonment;
  • Participating in litigation related to abuse policing and/or mass imprisonment, specifically students will depose a witnesses, draft motions for federal court, monitor and enforce consent decrees, draft/respond to discovery requests and when the opportunity presents, argue motions and/or participate in evidentiary hearings/trials as student attorneys.
  • Working in collaboration with community partners to support policy advocacy through research, legislative drafting and the production of advocacy materials.

About Sheila A. Bedi

Headshot of Sheila Bedi

Sheila A. Bedi is a clinical professor of law at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and director of the Community Justice and Civil Rights Clinic, a law school clinic that provides students with the opportunities to work within social-justice movements on legal and policy strategies aimed at redressing over-policing and mass imprisonment. Bedi litigates civil-rights claims on behalf of people who have endured police violence and abusive prison conditions. She also represents grassroots community groups seeking to end mass imprisonment and to redress abusive policing. Bedi teaches classes on legal reasoning and writing and the law of state violence to students who are incarcerated through Northwestern’s Prison Education Program. Bedi’s partnerships with affected communities on litigation and policy campaigns have closed notorious prisons and jails, increased community oversight of law enforcement, created alternatives to imprisonment and improved access to public education and mental health services. Previously, Bedi served as a deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Her honors include the NAACP’s Vernon Dahmer and Fannie Lou Hamer Award and the Federal District Court Excellence in Public Interest Award (N.D. IL). Bedi writes about race, gender, and the justice system and her commentary has been published by U.S. News and World Reports, Huffington Post and USA Today. View Faculty Profile.