Family Law and Veterans Advocacy Clinic

Your ​Opportunity to Practice Law

In the Family​ Law and Veterans Advocacy Clinic, you will be assigned real clients to represent.

Your work will include:

  • conducting interviews
  • building case theories
  • investigating cases and researching law
  • drafting pleadings, legal documents and orders
  • appearing in court as first chair
  • filing appeals

All your work will be supervised by an experienced attorney.

Our clinic focuses on providing services in the following areas of law:

  • Family law. You advocate for indigent clients needing a divorce, child custody, child support, visitation and/or protective orders in family violence situations.
  • Children’s issues. You will represent the caregivers of children who are at risk of abuse or neglect.
  • Simple wills. You will draft wills, medical powers of attorney, general powers of attorney, and other documents for clients.
  • Veteran issues. In addition to the above areas of law, you will represent veterans seeking VA benefits and other related issues, both legal and non-legal, that affect the lives of veterans.

Course Information

The Family Law and Veterans Advocacy Clinic provides legal assistance to low-income individuals in the areas of family law and veterans issues. This clinic offers students the opportunity to represent clients as “first chair attorneys” in district courts and other administrative agencies. The types of cases students can expect to handle include divorces, protective orders, child custody, termination of parental rights, adoptions, disability compensation petitions and appeals, and an array of legal issues related to veterans. Students enrolled in this clinic handle cases from the initial interviews through the final hearings or trials. 

The Family Law and Veterans Advocacy Clinic is an excellent opportunity for students who are interested in careers in civil litigation because the clinic exposes our students to the litigation of the case from start to finish, from initial interviews, to drafting pleadings and motions, to preparation for temporary orders hearings, drafting and responding to discovery, participating in mediation, and eventually to final trials.

Pre-requisites/Co-requisites:
• Professional Responsibility -- completed, or concurrently enrolled. Students who have not completed Professional Responsibility will be automatically enrolled in a section when admitted to a clinic.

Recommended Courses:
​None

Eligibility to Enroll:
• Completed first year of law courses by the start of the semester for which you are applying
• Must be in good academic standing
• No Honor Code violations

Credit Hours/Experiential Hours:
Four (4) hours credit in the Fall and Spring
Counts towards oral skills requirement

Terms available:
Fall and Spring

Evaluation:
Graded

Dropping Clinics:
Given the unique nature of clinics and the ethical obligations that arise for our attorneys when they expose students to actual client cases, students will not be allowed to drop a clinic after the first week of classes.

Faculty:
Prof. Celestina Contreras

Considerations

Since clinics operate differently than doctrinal, writing, and other simulation courses, students must keep in mind the following before enrolling:

  • All clinical courses meet in the Clinical Program Office located in the Star-Telegram Building at 307 W. 7th Street, Fort Worth, Texas. It is a 0.6 mile walk from the Law School building to the clinical space.

  • All 3 and 4 unit clinic courses require that students spend a minimum of 6-8 hours per week at the clinical space.

  • Per our Academic Standards, students are expected to submit logs of their time to their supervising attorneys to receive credit. Your instructor will provide you with direction of how to keep track of your time.

  • In order to provide all of our students with a clinical opportunity, you cannot enroll in more than one clinic in any one semester.

  • You may not enroll in an externship and a clinic in the same semester unless authorized by the Associate Dean for Experiential Education.

  • If you plan to be employed by a law firm, government agency, or other unit engaged in providing legal services during the semester, you must disclose the employer’s information so the clinical program can determine if there are any conflicts that prevent the student from enrolling in the clinic.

  • Once a student is admitted to a clinic, the student must commit to attend a mandatory clinic orientation the first Friday of the semester from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • Unless a special accommodation is necessary, free student parking is not available in the clinic space. The cost to valet in the Star-Telegram Building is $10. There is additional parking in the area that ranges from $6 to $10. Street metered parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Application

As a law student, the Family Law and Veterans Advocacy Clinic is one of your first opportunities to put your classroom skills and knowledge into practice with real clients. Once you have completed the first year of law courses in law school, you are eligible to apply for enrollment in our clinic.

Student applications for the Family Law and Veterans Advocacy Clinic are available online:

There is no Howdy registration for clinics. Instead, applications are reviewed and students are accepted during registration period on a rolling basis. Priority is given to applications we receive by November 10. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible in order to secure a seat in the clinic of their choice for the semester they would like. Once a seat has been secured, registration is handled on your behalf by a faculty member or administrator in the Clinical Program Office. Questions about the clinics or the application process can be answered by emailing experiential@law.tamu.edu.

Once a student is admitted to a clinic, the student must commit to attend a mandatory clinic orientation the first Friday of the semester from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Conflicts:
Clinics operate as law firms. Conflicts may arise if students enroll in a clinic and also work in a law firm or government agency in the first semester. If you plan to intern, extern, or otherwise, work during the semester you are in clinic, you will need to discuss with Dean Herrera. On the application you will be asked to indicate if you plan to intern, extern, or work elsewhere during the semester(s) you are applying for.