The Civil Practice Clinic provides students the opportunity to begin practicing law by handling legal matters on behalf of clinic clients. You will interview clients and witnesses, investigate facts, research applicable state and federal laws, write pleadings and briefs, and conduct court proceedings from motion hearings to full trials by applying legal principles and theories you've been learning in the classroom. We will expose you to the culture of a small law firm to better equip you for summer clerkships, extemships and your first job.
Students represent the rights of low-income individuals victimized by identity theft, unfair trade practices, small business disputes, predatory lending, auto fraud, bankruptcy, unfair sales practices, debt collectors, and other commercial issues.
The clinic is operated as a small law firm to familiarize students with many of the practice management systems used by firms throughout the country, including calendaring, conflicts checking, time and billing, word processing, case management and specialized practice software. We will use clinic cases during class to discuss theories and strategy, to practice direct and cross examination and to learn creative analysis and problem solving for our clients. Before all significant court appearances, we spend adequate time practicing clinical exercises in the courtroom.
In addition to learning valuable skills, clinicians also gain the perspective of a practicing attorney as they handle cases from interview through court or other disposition. Students often gain insight into their strengths and weaknesses as an advocate, and learn to self critique their performance. This insight will serve them well as they continue to develop professionally as practicing attorneys. Such insight is captured in the reflections captured in their weekly journals.