The UDC Law Clinical Program welcomed two new professors, and another long-time faculty member has rejoined the clinical faculty. Ieshaah Murphy joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Law Clinic, and Sakinah Tillman takes on the Tax Clinic as Assistant Professor and Director. Professor of Law Saleema Snow is directing the Youth Justice Clinic after several years of leading the Legal Writing Program.
Meet the newest members of the UDC Law Clinical Program faculty:
Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Law Clinic
Under Professor Ieshaah Murphy’s leadership, the Criminal Law Clinic will combat mass incarceration and racial injustice in the criminal legal system through direct representation, community engagement and strategic action. Professor Murphy’s teaching and scholarly interests focus on criminal law and procedure, racial disparities in the criminal legal system and indigent defense reform.
Prior to joining UDC Law, Professor Murphy practiced as a civil rights attorney and public defender. Most recently, she was a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Maryland, focusing on racial justice and criminal legal system transformation. Professor Murphy also worked for over eight years as a trial attorney at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS), where she represented hundreds of indigent children and adults charged with serious offenses. She supervised attorneys and co-founded the agency’s annual week-long defender training program for law students from historically excluded communities while at PDS.
Professor Murphy frequently trains lawyers and law students on various topics related to criminal defense and trial advocacy. She is teaching faculty for the Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop and previously served as an adjunct professor at the American University Washington College of Law and the George Washington University Law School. She has also served as teaching faculty for the National Criminal Defense College (NCDC), the Deborah T. Creek Criminal Practice Institute (CPI), the Wisconsin State Public Defender Trial Skills Academy and several other defender training programs.
Professor Murphy is a founding member of the Black Public Defender Association (BPDA), where she develops and leads race equity trainings at defender offices around the country. Professor Murphy has a longstanding commitment to advocating for those impacted by the criminal legal system. While in law school, she defended indigent people accused of crimes as a student attorney in the Criminal Justice Institute, represented incarcerated people in prison disciplinary hearings as a member of the Prison Legal Assistance Project and held summer clerkships at the Southern Center for Human Rights and the Bronx Defenders.
Originally from Buffalo, Professor Murphy earned her B.A. in Sociology, Phi Beta Kappa, from Spelman College, where she was a Gates Millennium Scholar, Dean’s Scholar and valedictorian. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she won several awards for excellence in trial advocacy.
Professor Murphy is licensed to practice law in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Vanita “Saleema” Snow
Professor of Law and Director, Youth Justice Clinic
Vanita “Saleema” Snow is a Professor of Law and Director of the Youth Justice Clinic at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. Through a critical race theory lens, her research focuses on youth justice, gender equity and the intersection of poverty, gender and access to justice. Her students have recognized her teaching in numerous ways including awarding her the Student Bar Association’s Outstanding Law Professor Award.
Professor Snow has spoken at numerous conferences and symposiums, including Yale School of Law, Harvard’s Critical Race Theory Conference and Georgetown University Law Center. Professor Snow’s scholarship has also appeared in various law journals, including Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice; Drexel Law Review; Pace Law Review and the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law (forthcoming). Her article, Reframing Radical Religion, which appeared in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives, argues that stigmatizing Muslims as terrorists emboldens xenophobia, racism and hate crimes. Equally significant, the stereotype garners widespread public support and judicial protections for discriminatory policies that adversely and disproportionately affect Muslims. Framing theory remains an important aspect of her scholarship in other substantive areas of law.
Before joining academia, Professor Snow spent over fifteen years representing low-income clients in the District of Columbia and in rural communities in Georgia. She began her legal career as a Covington & Burling Westwood Fellow at the Neighborhood Legal Services Program and represented hundreds of District of Columbia clients during her tenure. Her commitment to legal services continued at Georgia Legal Services Program, where she formed a state-wide education advocacy committee to address discriminatory practices against students of color in the school-to-prison pipeline.
At UDC Law, the Youth Justice Clinic continues this work by focusing on systems of oppression that support the school-to-prison pipeline. At its core, the Youth Justice Clinic seeks to improve outcomes for youth by amplifying racial disparities in the juvenile justice system and ensuring youth voices are positively amplified, seen and offered meaningful opportunities for success.
Professor Snow serves on the board of the ACLU of DC. She is also the past president of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers, former President of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights and a former board member of the District of Columbia Bar Board of Governors. In recognition of her unwavering commitment to advancing justice, the Capital Area Muslim Bar Association awarded her its 2019 Impact Award. She was also an honoree of Harvard Law School’s International Women’s Day Portrait Exhibit: Women Inspiring Change.
Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Tax Clinic
Professor Sakinah Tillman is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. She directs the Tax Clinic. Her scholarly research focuses on tax administration, tax policy and poverty law.
Prior to joining the faculty at UDC, Professor Tillman was a Clinical Fellow at the University of Baltimore School of Law, Low-Income Taxpayer’s Clinic. Student attorneys practiced under her supervision to represent low-income clients before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and in the federal tax litigation in U.S. Tax Court.
She has worked in several tax law firms where she has represented numerous clients in matters before the IRS. Professor Tillman was a senior state and local tax associate at RSM US, LLP, where she represented clients on technical state and local tax issues; prepared complex returns on behalf of partnerships and S corporations and wrote memoranda, matrices and other client deliverables.
During law school, she received the Distinguished Student Award from the Student Bar Association. She also received the Donald A. Thigpen Rising Star Award from the Washington Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division, which is awarded to an attorney who has made great contributions to the legal profession and to the Washington Bar Association during an attorney’s first year of practice.
Professor Tillman received a B.A. from Bloomsburg University, J.D. from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School and L.L.M from University of Baltimore School of Law.
She is the Secretary of the Washington Bar Association, Inc.