This semester, Fordham Law launched the new Rule of Law Clinic, overseen by Dean Emeritus and Norris Professor of Law John D. Feerick ’61 and Visiting Clinical Professor John Rogan’ 14. The clinic’s 10 students conduct research and participate in a weekly seminar class. They are focused on the legal and political issues related to Northern Ireland’s future, post Brexit.
This clinic will further Fordham’s long-standing relationship with Ireland, which includes the law school’s Belfast/Dublin Summer Program.
“Partly influenced by my Irish immigrant parents who hailed from County Mayo, I had taken Fordham Law to Ireland in the 1990s and launched the Fordham-Ulster Conflict Resolution Program with Professor Jacqueline Nolan-Haley,” Dean Feerick explained. “Collective efforts between our alumni and faculty, as well as with Queen’s University Belfast and University College Dublin, resulted in an enormous commitment to peace in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.”
“We have made many friends in both countries throughout the last 25 years and counting,” he continued. “The Rule of Law Clinic is designed to make a neutral and objective study of issues surrounding the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement that was reached on April 10, 1998.”
Issues the clinic is analyzing include fostering reconciliation, protecting human rights, potential future constitutional arrangements for the island of Ireland, and how voters might express their views about the island’s political future. “We’re not advocating for any particular outcome,” Rogan said. “This work is about the importance of increasing understanding of issues that might arise in the future.”
The students are working collaboratively in teams and conducting interviews with experts in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, England, and the United States. At the end of the semester, the student teams hope to prepare and present papers to interested U.S. parties about their research on these issues.