Christine Clarke joins RPJ’s practice in the fields of employment law and general litigation, investigations and dispute resolution, and the representation of non-profit organizations. Ms. Clarke has extensive experience representing clients in federal and state litigation throughout the country, as well as before administrative and licensing agencies. Her primary areas of expertise include employment, labor, healthcare, housing, and civil rights law; legal compliance for non-profit organizations; First Amendment free speech and constitutional due process claims; and discrimination dispute resolution and prevention trainings.
Prior to joining RPJ, Ms. Clarke was a litigator with Planned Parenthood Federation of America (“PP”), engaging in federal and state litigation around the country concerning access to reproductive health care. Previously, Ms. Clarke was Director of the Civil Rights Justice Initiative at Legal Services NYC (“LSNYC”), representing low-income New Yorkers in a variety of civil rights claims, including fair housing, employment discrimination, procedural due process, and language access claims. At both PP and LSNYC, Ms. Clarke often worked as lead counsel, coordinating teams of experienced litigators to bring high-profile impact litigations. Ms. Clarke has also designed and continues to provide at RPJ anti-bias and anti-discrimination trainings. Directly out of Yale Law School, Ms. Clarke practiced at Beranbaum Menken LLP, representing clients in discrimination and wage and hour claims.
After college and before law school, Ms. Clarke spent time in China, where she taught English at Shanxi Agricultural University as part of the Oberlin Shansi Fellowship. She also spent some years researching labor abuses around the world at the National Labor Committee and China Labor Watch. There was a time when Ms. Clarke spoke excellent Mandarin Chinese, but she is convinced that every new legal concept she learns erases about 105 Chinese characters from her memory, leaving her a better lawyer but dramatically worse Mandarin-speaker than she was before law school.
Ms. Clarke is a graduate of Oberlin College, where she obtained a B.A. in Politics with High Honors, and Yale Law School, where she was a student supervisor in the LGBT Litigation Clinic and a student editor of the Human Rights and Development Law Journal. M s. Clarke is admitted to practice in the state of New York, as well as the U.S. District Courts in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
Services & Honors
Ms. Clarke has a long career in public service. Aside from her past employment representing low-income New Yorkers at Legal Services NYC and reproductive healthcare clinics at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Ms. Clarke also spent a number of years working at non-profits researching labor abuses in China, Central America and the Middle East. In 2005, Ms. Clarke co-authored a report for Human Rights Watch concerning the treatment of protestors in China. While at Legal Services NYC she co-authored a report, Interpreting Justice, concerning language access issues in the New York state court system.
Ms. Clarke has spoken on panels at the National Legal Aid and Defenders Conference including on Language Access in State Courts, as well as Advancing Justice Through Storytelling and Strategic Communications.
Ms. Clarke was recognized as a Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.
While at Planned Parenthood, Ms. Clarke represented the last abortion provider in Missouri when the state’s Department of Health sought to revoke the clinic’s license. The case garnered national media attention after the trial made public the fact that the Missouri Department of Health was trying to force the clinic to require women to undergo invasive and medically unnecessary procedures in order to obtain abortions (which Rachel Maddow referred to as “state sanctioned sexual assault”).
Reported Judicial Decisions
- Martinez v. Lexington Gardens Associates, 336 F.Supp.3d 270 (S.D.N.Y. 2018)
- Planned Parenthood of Tennessee & N. Mississippi v. Slatery, No. 3:20-CV-00740, 2020 WL 5797984 (M.D. Tenn. Sept. 29, 2020)
- Lee v. Hudson River Café, Corp., 12-cv-463, 2016 WL 11482345, (S.D.N.Y. August 15, 2016), report and recommendation adopted in Lee v. Hudson River Cafe, Corp., 2016 WL 5092591, 12-civ-463 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 19, 2016)
- Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and N. Mississippi v. Slatery, 523 F.Supp.3d 985 (M.D. Tenn. 2021)
- A.S. v. Been, 228 F.Supp.3d 315 (S.D.N.Y. 2017)
- All-Options, Inc. v. Attorney General of Indiana, No. 121CV01231JPHMJD, 2021 WL 2685774, 110 Fed.R.Serv.3d 22 (S.D. Ind. June 30, 2021)
- Jemine v. Dennis, 901 F.Supp.2d 365 (E.D.N.Y. 2012)
- Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Inc. v. Reynolds, 2019 WL 312072, EQCV0871855 (Dist. Iowa, Jan. 22, 2019)
- Stokes v. City of Mount Vernon, N.Y., No. 11 CV 7675 VB, 2015 WL 4710259 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 4, 2015)
- Stokes v. City of Mount Vernon, N.Y. , 11 CV 7675 VB, 2012 WL 3536461 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 14, 2012), reconsideration granted in part, 11 CV 7675 VB, 2012 WL 6691078 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 17, 2012), amended by, 11 CV 7675 VB, 2013 WL 1222720 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 25, 2013)
- Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region v. Department of Health and Human Servs., No. 1922-CC02395, 2019 WL 232089, (Circuit Court of St. Louis Missouri, May 31, 2019)
Selected Engagements & Publications
- “Can Anti-Abortion Organizations Discriminate Against Employees Based on Reproductive Healthcare Decisions” RPJ – March 2, 2023
- “Thorny Legal Questions Raised by Twitter Turmoil” RPJ – November 22, 2022
- “When Do Requirements for Employee Handbooks Implicate the First Amendment?” RPJ – April 5, 2022
- “Would Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill Create Hostile Work Environments for LGBTQ Teachers?” RPJ – February 24, 2022
- “New York to Pay Thousands to 10 tenants Purged from Rent Freeze Program,” Nikita Stewart, New York Times, featuring Ms. Clarke – March 7, 2016
- “Police Must Tackle Language Barrier in Domestic Abuse Case,” Ashley Southall, New York Times, featuring Ms. Clarke – May 25, 2017
- “New York Courts Are Failing Non-English Speakers,” Michelle Chen, The Nation, featuring Ms. Clarke – February 16, 2017
- “Interpreting Justice: Language Access in the New York Courts,” Christine Clarke & Veronica Cook, Legal Services NYC – 2017
- “My fake Ashley Madison Affair: Someone else used my email address to create an account – so why do I feel so guilty?”, Christine Clarke, Salon.com – August 20, 2015 (concerning false confessions, particularly by juvenile criminal defendants)
- “New York City is Sued Over Rule Change to Rent-Freeze Program,” Nikita Stewart, New York Times, featuring Ms. Clarke – June 4, 2015
- “How a Quirk of the Equal Pay Act Causes Some Women to Miss Out,” Christine Clarke, Life of the Law – February 19, 2014
- “Should Lawyers Unionize?,” Christine Clarke, Life of the Law – January 8, 2014
- “Arizona’s War on Birth Control,” Christine Clarke, Slate.com – March 23, 2012
- “We Could Disappear At Any Time: Retaliation and Abuse Against Chinese Petitioners,” Sara Davis, Christine Clarke, & Mike Goettig, Human Rights Watch – 2005
Noted Speaking Engagements:
- “Language Access in State Courts,” Panel Speaker, National Legal Aid and Defenders Association Conference, November 2, 2018
- “Advancing Justice through Storytelling & Strategic Communications,” Panel Speaker, National Legal Aid and Defenders Association Conference, November 2, 2018
- “New York City Human Rights Law: An Overview,” Justice Learning Center, Legal Services NYC, April 10, 2017
- “Narrative Advocacy: Creating Empathy through Storytelling,” Panel Speaker, National Legal Aid and Defenders Association Conference, November 11, 2016