Tulane Home Tulane Home

Brandao named Director of the Tulane Civil Rights and Federal Practice Clinic

February 08, 2024 8:30 AM
Alina Hernandez ahernandez4@tulane.edu

Professor Sam Brandao (L'12) was named Director of the Tulane Civil Rights and Federal Practice Clinic, where he has worked since 2016 mentoring and guiding students. An alumnus of Tulane Law, he is leading the clinic where he once was a student attorney.


Sam Brandao (L’12), who has served as a professor in the Civil Rights and Federal Practice Clinic since 2016, has been named the Director of the Clinic, Interim Dean Sally Richardson announced.

Brandao has supervised nearly 100 student attorneys during that time, guiding them through the representation of indigent clients pursuing civil rights claims in the federal courts, including cases involving allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination in housing and employment, and police misconduct.

“We are so excited to have Sam become the Director for the Civil Rights and Federal Practice Clinic,” said Richardson. “He is an outstanding teacher and has been a superb supervisor of student attorneys. He will do an exceptional job in this new leadership position as we continue to train students to be the best possible litigators.”

Brandao, an alumnus of Tulane Law, is now leading the clinic where he once was a student attorney. He graduated summa cum laude,  having been awarded the John Minor Wisdom Award, graduating Order of the Coif, and serving as a member of the Tulane Law Review where he was Articles Editor and had his comment on the public trust doctrine selected for publication. He was a member of the Civil Litigation Clinic. After graduation, he clerked for Judge Eldon Fallon on the Eastern District of Louisiana, and later clerked for Judge Jacques Wiener on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Brandao, right, mooting a case with two
students who recently argued before
the Fifth Circuit.

After practicing at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services on a two-year Skadden Fellowship, he joined the Civil Rights and Federal Practice Clinic in 2016 as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Law under then-Director Lucia Blacksher Ranier. He has supervised student attorneys in administrative proceedings, trial courts, and courts of appeal, highlighted by the student teams who have now briefed and argued three different cases in the Fifth Circuit. Student attorneys also regularly take and defend depositions, engage in discovery and motion practice, interview clients and witnesses, and negotiate settlements.

All the while, Brandao has also produced regular updates on civil rights U.S. Supreme Court decisions for the Federal Bar Association, the New Orleans Bar Association, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and similar organizations, and has begun working on a law review article discussing the effects of emerging AI technologies on traditional civil rights enforcement. His research interests include other areas where science and civil rights law meet, like drug policy for mental health treatment and end-of-life care.

“Practicing in federal court is not easy, but Sam has done an amazing job preparing our students,” Richardson reflected. “He has helped students prepare for oral arguments before the U.S. Fifth Circuit.  He has trained students to argue motions in federal district court. He has taught students how to write quality briefs. He really is an incredible mentor. I look forward to seeing how the Civil Rights and Federal Practice Clinic continues to flourish and grow under Sam’s leadership.”

Brandao received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale University and was a musician and high school English teacher before attending law school