Civil Law Clinic

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The Civil Law Clinic provides law students the opportunity to represent clients in pending civil cases, learning how to competently and professionally represent clients in civil matters through both live-client representation and extensive simulations.

Students are assigned to cases from a wide variety of subject-matter areas including: civil rights, consumer law, landlord-tenant, personal injury, contracts, and employment law. The classroom component of the course provides training in client, pre-trial, and trial practice skills. From litigation strategy to ethical issues, the clinic also includes discussion and analysis of the pending cases. Students learn from each other’s experiences and develop the fundamental professional skill of self-reflection — a skill they will carry with them throughout their careers.

Students are responsible for the clients to which they are assigned.  Students meet with clients, assess their needs, and work collaboratively with clients to problem solve.  Students take the lead on strategy and decision-making. Students file pleadings in courts, negotiate with co-counsel, engage in discovery, engage in court appearances, trials, and hearings.

Team-taught by two members of the clinical faculty, the clinic meets twice per week, and students meet regularly with the faculty supervisors about their cases.

The Civil Law Clinic allowed a team of three students to litigate on behalf of a client in a three-day civil jury trial in autumn of 2012. 3L George Kiamos, who cross-examined witnesses and conducted the voir dire of the jury during that trial, relished the unusual early opportunity to go to trial that many lawyers do not receive until several years into practice.

“Gaining real-world experience while interacting with real clients is a great way to learn how to be a lawyer,” Kiamos said of the experience. “You can’t simulate the experience of working out of a hotel room late into the night with papers scattered everywhere. I’m very thankful to professors Cooke and Akbar for their guidance.”