SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University's School of Law is launching a LGBTQ+ Rights Clinic, set to be the first of its kind in Washington state and the Inland Northwest.
The Lincoln LGBTQ+ Rights Clinic was developed in partnership with GU's Center for Civil and Human Rights and made possible by a significant donation from Joe Lincoln, a 1988 alum and Regent of the university.
Gonzaga says the clinic aims at advancing 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.”
Law schools at universities like Harvard, Cornell, Emory and UCLA also have similar clinics. Gonzaga's clinic will offer legal services to the public with help of second- and third-year law students under direction by faculty.
“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.”
Law students can help provide assistance with government ID, family law issues, domestic violence concerns, and discrimination suits (housing, employment, public services).
The clinic will also focus on education and outreach in partnership with GU's Lincoln LGBTQ+ Resource Center. GU is the first Jesuit university in the country to establish such a program.
“We are building on something that already exists,” program manager Matthew Barcus said. “We are looking forward to working cohesively together.”