Family Advocacy Clinic Curriculum
In this clinic, you will learn the law through the actual practice of law, using the tools of preparation, execution, and debriefing.
As you represent clients, your deepest learning will come from processing your experiences. The clinic is designed to help you consider what worked for you, and what could be improved. You will receive constant feedback from your professor, your fellow students, and even from your clients and judges.
In addition to client work, you will receive practical classroom instruction in all aspects of client representation, such as case and fact analysis, mediation advocacy, depositions and other discovery, motion and trial practice, domestic violence, use of law office software, and interdisciplinary collaboration with other professionals. Interviewing, counseling, and negotiation skills will be reviewed, as necessary.
When representing clients, interns work together in teams of two. Each intern will sit as lead counsel in two to four cases at any given time.
Interns earn 6 credit hours. One-third of the hours are graded, and two-thirds are S/S+/U. The professor may elect to grade all hours pass/fail.
Intensive First Weeks of Class
During the first week (or two) of classes, you will have approximately 10 hours of class per week. This will help prepare you to represent your clients. We generally review interviewing and counseling, and cover fact analysis, family law topics, office practice, and thinking about how to represent our clients. The exact times of these meetings will be arranged at our first class; we will try to minimize conflict with your other classes.
After the Intensive first weeks, formal classes will meet Monday and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. Summer hours may vary.
Teaching is normally done through simulations (role play), class discussions, special guests, and critique. As little time as possible is devoted to lecture. Written class assignments include performance evaluations, written court observations, a short midterm paper, weekly journals or “reflection papers,” and a longer, end of the semester looking back paper. Students also prepare documents for class simulations such as motions, negotiation plans, etc. There is no final examination.
Office Hours and Team Meetings:
In addition to formal classes, each week students have a one-hour team meeting, a one-hour firm meeting, and 10 scheduled office hours (spread over at least three days).
Expect to spend 30 or more hours per week on your clinic work. Know also that you are responsible for your client work even after formal classes end, until the next semester begins.