The Clinic Program offers students a unique opportunity to gain real life lawyering skills by offering programs that advance the administration of justice, promote professional responsibility, and encourage public service. Students learn the values and responsibilities of the legal profession through networking and collaboration with other professionals. Additionally, clinical experiences assist students develop the ability to objectively assess their own performance and levels of competence. By working on actual cases, students advance from being observers to participants and advocates. In the process, each are able to integrate analytical and doctrinal knowledge of substantive law with the skills needed for professional life.
Students in the Clinic Legal Studies Program learn the following skills: trial and appellate advocacy; alternative methods of dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration; counseling and interviewing clients; negotiation and problem solving; factual investigation; organization and management of legal work; motion practice; and drafting pleadings, briefs, legal instruments, and documents.
Prerequisites. To qualify for student attorney positions in a Clinic Program Area, a student must have completed two-thirds of their course work for graduation, in addition to having taken several prerequisite courses. The prerequisites include, but are not limited to: (a) Wills, Trusts, and Estates; (b) Professional Responsibility; (c) Trial Simulation; (d) Criminal Law; (e) Criminal Procedure; (f) Appellate Litigation; (g) Evidence, and (h) Lawyering Process. Each student must apply to a clinic participate in an interview with the supervisory professor for the respective clinic. Potential applicants may also be required to demonstrate eligibility to apply and obtain a temporary bar card from the State Bar of Texas.
Participation. Each clinic can accommodate a maximum of ten students, though enrollment generally averages between five to seven students per semester. Students enrolled in a clinic program receive four (4) credit hours. Additionally, students are also required to enroll in a two (2) credit-hour classroom skills course component, for a total of six (6) credit hours toward graduation.
Students are required to successfully complete 240 hours within the student’s clinic program area. In addition to providing client services, student-attorneys are expected to participate in aspect of law office management, including handling client inquiries—via telephone or in-person, file management, and data input.