The Wills, Probate, & Guardianship Clinic is supervised and managed by Professor Martina E. Cartwright. Student attorneys in the WPG Clinic represent clients the areas of probate, guardianship, and small estate planning. Probate matters include, but is not limited to, testate, intestate estates, administration of estates. Guardianship matters involve assisting a parent or close relative who is seeking guardianship or an alternative for an incapacitated adult or minor. Small estate planning involves preparing an array of documents for execution. The WPG Clinic's primary goals are two-fold: (1) prepare law students for the practice of law by providing a quality experiential legal education and (2) provide high-quality legal services to indigent clients otherwise lacking access to social justice.
The WPG clinic has two components: (1) Civil Law Clinic (practicum) and (2) Civil Trial Practice (instruction/simulation). Students earn four credit hours for the practicum and two credit hours for the instruction/simulation course. Students must enroll in the Civil Trial Practice course.
The classroom component consists of a skills seminar (covering topics such as interviewing, drafting pleadings or correspondence, and preparing for trial and hearings), and discussions of ethics and professional identity as well as of broader issues regarding probate law and policy. Students participate in "case rounds" whereby issues students confront in their casework are discussed in the classroom so that students may learn from each other's experiences, explore legal and practical issues in context, and gain exposure to a broader range of approaches to providing legal services.
During the semester, each student is expected to maintain a docket of 5-7 cases. Students will have opportunities to appear in court and represent clients in both contested as well as uncontested matters. Students are responsible for drafting all pleadings--initial and responsive, discovery, orders and judgments. Students are also responsible for drafting estate planning documents, such as: Transfer on Death deeds, Wills, Statutory Durable Powers of Attorney, Medical Powers of Attorney, and Physicians Directives. Finally, students conduct all factual investigations; interview clients and witnesses, prepare clients and witnesses for trial. Students also counsel clients on estate planning matters. All students also attend regularly scheduled individual supervision meetings with the clinic's supervising attorney to develop and review legal issues; develop and evaluate all strategic options in the case; and examine ethical, moral, and cultural issues that arise in the course of the work.
Wills, Trusts, and Estates; Evidence, Trial Simulation
Submit application, be approved by the supervising attorney
Credits: Six (4-practicum, 2-classroom
Semester-long, offered in Fall and Spring only
Number of Participants:
8 to 10 per semester
2Ls and 3Ls
Average Time Commitment:
10 to 12 hours per week
Various agencies, probate courts, and walk-ins.
What Students Attorneys Do
For more information, contact: Martina E. Cartwright, Associate Professor: email@example.com