Clinical legal education is a way to learn about law and lawyering from hands-on experience. Students actively take the role of legal practitioner, engaging in and learning from real life practice, while helping diverse communities.
All UC Hastings’ clinical courses integrate substantive theory with actual lawyering activities. Under the supervision of experienced clinical professors and attorneys, students bear primary responsibility for identifying issues, making decisions, managing processes, and solving problems. Clinic seminars, one-on-one sessions with supervisors, collaboration with student partners, and fieldwork in the community provide the settings for critical preparation, skills attainment, constructive feedback, and reflection.
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Externships give students opportunities to develop their legal skills under close supervision at approved governmental or public interest law offices. In addition to working in the placements, students co-enroll in a faculty taught course designed to enhance the placement experience. Faculty also monitor placements to ensure their quality as learning experiences. Students assume real-world responsibilities and develop professional contacts and relationships in contexts identical to those in which they may eventually practice.
Lawyers for America (“LfA”) is a two-year fellowship program, designed to meet the growing demand for study that integrates doctrinal and practical knowledge, improves employment prospects for law graduates, and closes the justice gap. The first (3L) year of LfA consists of a closely supervised, essentially full-time, full-academic-year externship, complemented each semester by four classroom units. After completing their 3L year, fellows take the summer off to study for and take the California Bar. They then return to the same externship placement sites for a second year, as exceptionally well-trained, acculturated first year associates. All 2013-2014 placements are in criminal practice sites; a broader range of sites may be announced for 2014-2015.
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