Clinics Updates: Students and faculty advise, inform, advocate amid COVID-19

Over the course of the past year, students and faculty in UW Law’s Clinical Law Program have led a wealth of efforts to research and address legal issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the program’s many standout examples, students in the Tax, Technology Law and Public Policy, and Tribal Court clinics have become key resources on a number of fronts as industries and communities deal with impacts of life in the time of COVID-19.

Federal Tax Clinic students address COVID-19 stimulus issues

Students in UW Law's Federal Tax Clinic are helping spread the word about significant changes to IRS policies due to COVID-19.

Under the leadership of Director John Clynch, the students are divided into teams and are sharing information about recent significant changes to the IRS and IRS policies due to COVID-19.

The teams are working closely with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project to provide answers to their clients regarding the stimulus payments.

Managing Director: John Clynch, Assistant Teaching Professor

Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic advise lawmakers on connected autonomous vehicles

Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic students Dylan Harlow, Janet Kang, Timothy Wolfe, Emily Kawahigashi, Jake Ragen and Robin Lustig spent the entire academic year researching connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) policies of all 50 states.

The students assembled a database, composed a slide deck and presented their work to 24 people who make up Washington’s legislatively created Executive Committee on CAV Policy.

In addition to the committee, the work was so sought after that 100 additional people attended by Zoom.

Lustig’s work in particular — which focused on how the coronavirus pandemic is shifting public attitudes toward a more favorable view on autonomous vehicles — was of special interest to the executive committee and overflow audience.

Director: William Covington, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Associate Teaching Professor

Successful remote advocacy in Tribal Courts

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Tulalip and Muckleshoot business enterprises are suspended or closed. However, their Tribal Courts, as essential service providers, are currently operating remotely.

Students in UW Law’s Tribal Court Clinic are now representing clients charged with a criminal code violation in the Tulalip Tribal Court. Students are also representing parents in child welfare cases heard in the Muckleshoot Tribal Court through remote tele-advocacy.

Since the start of the pandemic, Tribal Clinic students successfully advocated for their clients’ releases in 17 out of 18 criminal matters.

Students either successfully obtained complete release or release to a less restrictive alternative such as electronic home monitoring, GPS monitoring or intensive in-patient treatment.

In addition, Tribal Clinic students secured an expedited return home for a child in foster care, and secured agreements to provide for meaningful and consistent visitation for children that remain in out-of-home care during the pandemic.

This contact better equips children to navigate the emotional tolls of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, efforts which are designed to better serve families as they work toward their goals of reunification.

Co-Director: Brenda Williams, Associate Teaching Professor
Co-Director: Stacey Lara, Assistant Teaching Professor