Levin College of Law
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  • Family Advocacy Clinic Curriculum

    You will learn the lawyering skills 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, opposing counsel and judges.

    In addition to client work, you will receive practical classroom instruction in a 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. You will also practice your interviewing, counseling and negotiation skills.

    Interns work together in teams of two, and each intern will serve 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. Your professor may elect to grade all hours pass/fail.

    Advanced Certified Legal Interns (ACLIs) opportunities are available to law students who successfully complete a full term as a Certified Legal Intern and have the approval of the Director.  ACLI credit hours range from 2-4 and the class is pass/fail.  ACLIs engage in advanced legal work, supervision of clinical cases, and research.

    Intensive First Weeks of Class

    During the first two or three weeks of classes, you will attend extra classes to 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.

    Classroom Component

    After the intensive first weeks, formal classes will meet Monday and Wednesday from 9 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.

    Time Commitment

    In addition to formal classes, you will have a one-hour team meeting, a one-hour firm meeting, and 10 scheduled office hours each week. Expect to devote additional time when your cases are busy, such as for depositions, trial, etc.

    You will be responsible for your cases after formal classes end and until the next semester begins. For the most part, you will be able to work remotely, except for court, mediation and similar client events.