Current Students > Experiential Programs > Law Clinic > Your Chance to Practice Law

Your Chance to Practice Law

What Is the Law Clinic?
The Law Clinic is a law office, operated by the law school, in which students actually represent clients, under supervision of a faculty member, for 3 hours course credit. Class meetings are also held twice a week.

The law clinic represents indigent clients in the following areas: obtaining Social Security & SSI Disability benefits, family law cases/family violence cases, issues relating to children, and simple wills.

Who Is Eligible to Enroll?
Students who have completed at least 45 hours and are in good standing with no Honor Code violations.

What Are the Benefits to Me?
You will actually represent real clients in real cases in real hearings. You will interview and advise clients. You will prepare pleadings and legal briefs for your clients. You will conduct hearings as first chair, with an experienced attorney at your side as a “safety net.”

This type of “hands on” experience is very difficult to obtain in the legal field prior to graduation. The law clinic experience helps you in class right away and helps you obtain a better job in the future. This is the type of experience most highly valued by employers.

Who Will Supervise Me?
Professor Charlotte Hughart, who has practiced since 1977, Adjunct Professor Celestina Contreras, who has practiced since 1990, and Adjunct Professor Karon Rowden, who had practiced since 2001.

How Many Hours of Credit?
3 hours.

How Are Students Selected?
Enrollment is limited to 24 students per semester. Interested students will be interviewed prior to registration. Those selected are eligible to enroll in the law clinic.

Are Night Students Eligible?
Yes, provided that the student has a flexible enough work schedule to allow appearance at scheduled hearings, etc., upon reasonable advance notice.

What Are the Requirements of the Course?
2.5 hours of class each week
10 scheduled office hours per week (12 hours in summer) (scheduled around your obligations)
Appearance at hearings
Additional time, as case needs require

Should I Expect to Work More than the Scheduled Office Hours?
Office hours are maintained for the convenience of your clients in reaching you. The specific office hours assigned to you are based on your individual work and school schedule. As your cases require, you can expect to work additional time, either in or out of the clinic office—especially when hearings are pending.

When Do Classes Meet?
Classes are announced on the class schedule. It is usually scheduled in the 4-6 p.m. range twice a week.

What Do the Classes Cover?
Topics may vary each semester, but have included:

  • Substantive law:
      - Family Law
      - Social Security/SSI
  •   - Children's Issues 
  • Interviewing & Counseling
    Brief preparation
  •  Preparing for hearings
  • Examining experts
  • Legal ethics
  • Case rounds
  • Guest speakers
     - District attorneys
     - Private attorneys
     - SSA government attorneys
    - Judges
     - Women’s Haven personnel
  •  - Lena Pope Home personnel

What Kind of Work Will I Do?

  • Interview clients
  • Fact investigation
  • Legal research & writing
  • Draft pleadings & briefs
  • Advise clients
  • Client & witness preparation
  • Conduct hearings
  • Prepare appeals

Areas of Practice    
Social Security and SSI Disability Cases

Family Law/Protective Orders
Children's Issues
Simple Wills

Is There a Final Exam?
No, there is no final exam or paper; often, there is a clinic party at the end of the semester.

Will I get a Third-Year Bar Card?
Yes. All clinic students are eligible and required to obtain a third-year bar card. The application fee is $10.00.

What Is a Third-Year Bar Card?
It is a LIMITED LICENSE to practice law granted by the state bar, allowing a law student to practice law and appear in court on behalf of consenting clients under attorney supervision.

Where Can I Obtain Additional Information?
Look for “Clinic Information Sessions” near registration time or contact:

Professor Charlotte Hughart, Clinic Director
Telephone: (817) 212-4123