Through a Glass, Clearly: Reflections on Team Lawyering, Clinically Taught

31 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2016 Last revised: 13 Jan 2017

Date Written: April 8, 2016


The litigation surrounding the maintenance of a refugee camp for HIV Haitian refugees in the early 1990s has been written about as both triumph and defeat; it resulted in both dramatic legal victories as well as some significant setbacks. To date, the scholarship and commentary about the effort has focused mostly on the outcomes of the litigation and some debate has arisen over whether the case established precedent that supported human rights norms or undermined them. What has received some attention in the focus on the case is the extent to which it was litigated by faculty in a law school, with the unbridled engagement of a large team of law students. By all accounts, regardless of one’s position on the doctrinal legacy of the litigation, most will agree that the manner in which the high impact, high profile case was litigated — by law students under the supervision of law faculty and practitioners — was both extraordinary and exemplary, representing a triumph of both collective and individual will as well as organizational wizardry. Yet little has been written about how such an amorphous network that saw the matter through to completion actually functioned on the ground and why it was so successful as a campaign. In hindsight, and informed by my own experience working on the case as well as nearly twenty-five years of institution building and project management, I attempt to diagnose the success beyond the doctrine: as a project that developed critical skills essential to attorneys and advocates; nurtured creativity; and tapped into intrinsic motivation.

Keywords: Clinical Legal Education, Innovation, Creativity

JEL Classification: K10, K41

Suggested Citation

Brescia, Raymond H., Through a Glass, Clearly: Reflections on Team Lawyering, Clinically Taught (April 8, 2016). 61 New York Law School Law Review, 87 (2016-2017) , Albany Law School Working Papers Series No. 18 for 2015-2016, Available at SSRN:

Raymond H. Brescia (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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