NYLS has joined the American Bar Association (ABA) and other law schools nationwide in a new five-year initiative to improve U.S. police practices and oversight.
The Legal Education Police Practices Consortium will collaborate on projects related to officer conduct, oversight of police departments, and the evolving nature of police work.
The group will work to eliminate police tactics that are motivated by race or have a disparate impact based on race, and to advance the widespread adoption of best practices in policing. Law students and practicing attorneys alike, led by the ABA’s Criminal Justice Section and backed by its national network, will take part.
As an inaugural member of the Consortium, NYLS will assign participating students to projects at the local, state, and/or national levels. This work might include policy research and scholarship, commentary and communications efforts, and engaging with local police departments.
Faculty members with expertise in criminal justice and policing said that the partnership would help NYLS students build valuable skills.
“NYLS’s engagement with the Legal Education Police Practices Consortium presents a fantastic opportunity for our students to get involved in police reform–a critical issue that touches every person in our country, will impact generations to come, and demands our urgent attention,” said Professor Kirk Burkhalter ’04, a retired NYPD Detective, First Grade, who will serve as NYLS’s liaison to the Consortium.
“This is a great opportunity for NYLS students—who have been deeply engaged on police accountability issues—to use the legal skills they learn as part of the NYLS curriculum to help address one of the most pressing issues in our country today,” said Professor Alvin Bragg, Co-Director of NYLS’s Racial Justice Project.
Professor Rebecca Roiphe, a former Manhattan prosecutor and expert in prosecutorial ethics, noted, “NYLS has always focused on training lawyers to use their education to make a difference in New York City and in our larger communities. Police reform is so critical to the lives of so many citizens. It’s exciting that our students will be a part of a broad bipartisan effort to reform police departments, while further developing the practical skills they need to become great lawyers.”