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Legal Services Program
Call Number: 10839
Course Number: 6930-02
Professor: Dona Playton
Credit Hours & Type of Credit: 3
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Prerequisites: Successful completion of two-years of law school (must include Professional Responsibility).
Recommended Courses: Family Law, Domestic Violence, Children and the Law, Civil Procedure, Evidence, and Professional Responsibility, and Trial Practice
Course Overview: Working with real clients with real problems allows law students to begin the lifelong process of becoming thoughtful, responsible, and reflective lawyers. Clinic students gain critical skills in communication, information gathering, persuasion, and legal and factual analysis that prepare them to address the complex needs their clients will present. Students gain legal experience while, at the same time, incorporating how to professionally and ethically represent a client. Students learn to find the right combination of zealous and compassionate advocacy. Students are challenged to consider how the practice of law may be reformed and to embrace the professional responsibility of assisting those who may otherwise be barred from accessing the legal system.
Course Format: Each student must be in the office at least five hours per week to answer the telephone and meet with walk-in clients. Additional office hours are necessary to complete casework, which includes meeting with clients, negotiating with lawyers, and preparing for and making necessary court appearances. Most court appearances are in state trial courts, either circuit or district courts. Common appearances involve representing persons seeking protection orders, contested child custody disputes, juvenile cases, and administrative hearings before a federal Administrative Law Judge (usually involving appeals from the denial of government benefits).
Written Assignments: Drafting all necessary pleadings.
Type of Exam: N/A
Basis for Grading Student Performance: Grading is S/U. Students must work at least 150 hours in the clinic, though most work many more, and finish all tasks to the satisfaction of the Faculty Supervisor.
Other Comments: Course is open to third year students only. Legal Services Clinic enrollment is limited to 8 students, 7 determined by application. If the registration is oversubscribed additional students will be placed on a waitlist. Completion of Family Law and/or Domestic Violence preferred.