Highly interactive seminar sessions enable students to develop their own visions of the type of lawyer they aim to be and to refine their ability to learn from experience. Particular attention is paid to the interpersonal dimensions of lawyering and to developing effective relationships with clients, opposing counsel, and judges. Trial skills are also covered, often through simulations.
UC Hastings' longest-running in-house clinic provides students a start-to-finish experience litigating cases on behalf of low- and moderate-income clients.
Students are supported and supervised by full-time Hastings faculty, but are the lead counsel from initial client interview through administrative or court hearings or negotiated settlement. Students learn transferable litigation skills, including: interviewing; counseling; case planning; fact investigation; case theory development; legal research; negotiating; approaches to addressing implicit bias; witness examination, and written and oral argument.
In Spring semesters, students represent workers in employment cases, including: (1) Wage and Hour cases filed in Superior Court, which may include civil discovery, negotiations, and trial; (2) administrative proceedings at the Labor Commissioner, such as mediated conferences and evidentiary hearings; and (3) unemployment insurance hearings before an ALJ. In Fall semesters, students represent clients seeking disability insurance benefits in evidentiary hearings before federal Administrative Law Judges and/or represent clients in Superior Court petitions to have past their criminal convictions dismissed.