UNH Law Ranked 8th Best School in U.S. for Clinics
The University of New Hampshire School of Law is No. 8 in the country for clinical opportunities for its students, according to a national legal magazine.
The National Jurist issued its findings in the January issue of its sister publication, prelaw Magazine. Rankings were compiled by dividing the number of full-time clinical course positions filled by the number of full-time students.
“The strength of our clinics is due in no small part to the enthusiasm, dedication, and talent of the clinic students, who work tirelessly on behalf of our clients,” said Professor Peter Wright, director of clinical programs at UNH Law. “Their enthusiasm, energy, and creativity are a source of inspiration to the faculty and makes learning to practice law through the clinical experience very rewarding for the students and the faculty."
UNH Law’s six clinics offer a wide range with a range of opportunities to work with real clients under the close supervision of clinical professors. All clinics include a classroom component, but their primary focus is on real-world experience, much of it in actual courtrooms.
“I am not surprised by this ranking at all,” said the Honorable Charles Temple (UNH ’82, UNH Law ’85), a former UNH Law professor who directed the school’s Criminal Practice Clinic for almost 11 years.
Judge Temple, who left UNH Law this month when he was appointed to the New Hampshire Superior Court bench, supervised around 200 students during his tenure in the clinic. Alongside Temple, they made thousands of court appearances in total – in both Circuit and Superior courts.
Students represented clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies in a variety of criminal cases. Over the past 10 years, students have tried numerous jury and bench trials in Circuit and Superior Courts. Many former students have gone on to successful careers as public defenders and prosecutors.
“Our clinics immerse our students in the practice of law in so many different areas,” Temple said. “Our students engage in the practice of law on a daily basis under the supervision of highly experienced lawyers. They impact our clients' lives in so many different ways inside and outside of the courtroom. This ranking is just a recognition of the high quality of legal services provided in the UNH Law clinics.”
In the Intellectual Property and Transaction clinic, Professor Ashlyn Lembree’s students have worked with entrepreneurs appearing on the ABC show “Shark Tank,” presented arguments to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on issues of likelihood of confusion between the slogans “EAT MORE KALE” and “EAT MOR CHIKIN,” and helped a puppeteer bring to her filmed pilot episode to prime time.
“The students appreciate that the old way of apprenticeship teaching, delivered in an updated, academically rich environment, is a crucial ingredient to their education and their ultimate career success," Lembree said.
The law school has long been recognized as a national leader in providing both clinical and legal residency opportunities. Ninety-seven percent of the class of 2013 completed a legal residency, joined a clinic, or did both.
"There aren’t many law schools in the country where you can represent actual clients in federal court after your first year,” said Kevin Capetanelis, who graduated from UNH Law last spring. “But that was only the tip of the iceberg of the experience I gained while at UNH Law. I trained in two clinics, was sent around the world, and had an excellent network of mentors to propel my education and my career.”