SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga University’s School of Law is pleased to announce the unveiling of its new Lincoln LGBTQ+ Rights Clinic, developed in partnership with the school’s Center for Civil and Human Rights and supported by a significant donation from Joe Lincoln, an alumnus (’88; electrical engineering) and Regent of Gonzaga University.
The clinic aims to advance the equal rights and dignity of individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ through education, programming, advocacy, research, and legal representation.
“Gonzaga Law School is one of only a handful of institutions of higher education across the nation to launch this kind of initiative,” said Jacob Rooksby, dean at Gonzaga’s School of Law. “More notably, we are the first law school in Washington state, and in the Inland Northwest, to do so.”
Gonzaga will join law schools at universities such as Harvard, Cornell, Emory, and UCLA in the development of an LGBTQ+ clinic, all of which are focused on outreach and promoting reforms that support those who are marginalized and underserved because of their gender identity or expression.
“The Lincoln LGBTQ+ Rights Clinic provides a special opportunity for Gonzaga law students to help protect and advance the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, both regionally and nationally,” said Jason Gillmer, professor, and director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights. “Through the Center, the clinic will also provide students and faculty with opportunities to engage in broader policy discussions about LGBTQ+ rights as we continue to strive for equality.”
The Lincoln LGBTQ+ Rights Clinic will offer legal services to members of the public with the help of second- and third-year law students, under the direction of a full-time faculty member. Potential areas include assistance with updating government identification cards, family law issues, domestic violence concerns, and discrimination suits in housing, employment, and public services. Students will have the opportunity to handle all phases of representation, including interviewing and counseling clients, fact-finding, brief writing, and appearing in court hearings on behalf of clients.
Another focus of the Lincoln LGBTQ+ Rights Clinic will be on education and outreach in partnership with Gonzaga’s Lincoln LGBTQ+ Resource Center, founded in 2004. As the first Jesuit university in the country to establish such a program, Matthew Barcus, program manager, says he believes the clinic will strengthen existing programming and services for students on campus — undergraduate and graduate students alike.
“We are building on something that already exists,” Barcus said. “We are looking forward to working cohesively together.” Barcus also noted that he believes the clinic will be another valuable resource for Gonzaga students who are members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“We are excited to launch this new clinic, which is informed by Gonzaga’s Catholic, Jesuit and humanistic mission of promoting and respecting individual dignity,” Rooksby said.
About Gonzaga Law School’s Center for Civil and Human Rights
The Center for Civil and Human Rights at Gonzaga Law seeks to provide students, scholars, and community leaders with opportunities to explore and address issues relating to civil and human rights through research, education, and community engagement.