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Clinical Professor Charles Auffant Heads AALS Clinical Section

January 28, 2014 – 

As co-chair of the Clinical Section of the Association of American Law Schools, Charles I. Auffant, Clinical Professor of Law at Rutgers School of Law–Newark, has a special opportunity to further the diversity efforts of the largest section of the AALS.

Auffant
Professor Charles Auffant

“Happily, we have already made strides in this regard,” he says. With Auffant, a Latino, and Hamline Law School’s Mary Jo Hunter, a Native-American, installed as 2013-2014 co-chairs, the Clinical Section is headed for the first time in its history by two persons of color. Furthermore, the appointment of Allison Bethel to the section’s executive committee ensures the presence of an African-American voice in the section’s leadership. “We will continue to ensure that diversity of all types is represented in leadership positions,” he adds. 

The chance both to advance diversity and to maintain the law school’s presence in the national conversation about clinical legal education were motivating factors that led to Auffant’s membership on the section’s executive committee. “While I am proud of the diversity we have achieved on the Rutgers–Newark campus,” he says, “I am mindful that it is the result of significant struggle. When I looked at the clinical leadership of the AALS, I knew I could assist them in this regard.”

Auffant adds that when he became active in the AALS, the continued existence of clinical legal education and the status of clinicians were major topics of debate in the legal academy. “I recognized that, as a pioneer in clinical legal education, Rutgers–Newark Law School had an important perspective and deserved a national voice in this debate. I also knew,” he says, “that there was a great deal our clinical program could learn from other clinical programs around the country.”

Professor Auffant has been a member of the Clinical Section’s executive committee since 2010. He was the driving force behind holding the annual AALS clinical conference in Puerto Rico for the first time in 2013. He also is a founder of the section’s diversity in leadership sub-committee.

Besides diversity efforts, Auffant has other goals for his one-year tenure as co-chair. “Most importantly, I hope to support the continued work of the AALS in ensuring that clinicians around the country are supported in their efforts to advance justice and are protected from political interference which may result from the work in which they are engaged.”

A 1982 graduate of Rutgers School of Law–Newark, Auffant in 2010 received the Shanara Gilbert Award from the AALS Clinical Section as one of the top emerging clinical educators in the country. He teaches in the school’s Community and Transactional Lawyering Clinic and also oversees clinic students in the Youth Advocacy Project, which he established in collaboration with Covenant House New Jersey. As Director of the Youth Advocacy Project, he supervises students’ legal work on Covenant House transactional matters and in providing residents with educational seminars, counseling and direct legal representation.

For the past three years, Auffant also has led a group of Rutgers Law–Newark students on a trip to Havana, Cuba, as the capstone of their study of comparative legal research on the Cuban legal system.