Dannnye K. Holley, Dean and Professor of Law

Wills, Probate, and Guardianship Clinic

The Wills, Probate, & Guardianship Clinic is supervised and managed by Professor Martina E. Cartwright. Student attorneys in the WP&G 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 WP&G Clinic's primary goals are to provide law students with a quality experiential legal education and to provide high-quality legal services to indigent refugees and immigrants who would otherwise lack access to social justice.
The course has two components: (1) practicum -Civil Law Clinic and (2) classroom -Civil Trial Practice. Students earn four credit hours for the practicum component and two credit hours for the classroom component. Students must enroll in the Civil Trial Practice course. Students participate in an initial orientation or boot camp before the semester begins. Further information regarding the dates and times must be obtained from the clinic's supervising attorney.
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 will 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 to immigrants.
During the semester, each student is expected to maintain 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, etc. 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. As part of that work, 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.

Clinic Construct
Prerequisite(s)

Wills, Trusts, and Estates; Trial Simulation
Application Process:
Submit application, be approved by the supervising attorney Credits: Six
Duration:
Semester-long
Number of Participants:
8 to 10 per semester
Open To:
2nd semester 2Ls and 3Ls
Average Time Commitment:
12 to 15 hours per week
Case Sources:
Various agencies, probate courts, and walk-ins.

 

What Students Attorneys Do

  • Students assist individual clients, referred by various agencies or the courts. Students are responsible for drafting all pleadings—initial and responsive, discovery, etc.
  • 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.
  • Students conduct all factual investigations; interview clients and witnesses.
  • Students also counsel clients on estate planning matters.

Course Information

  • Wills, Trusts, & Estates and Trial Simulation are pre-requisites
  • Students receive 4 units of graded credit for the practicum (Civil Trial Clinic) and 2 units of graded credit for  the trial practice course (Civil Trial Practice).
  • Second semester 2Ls and all 3Ls are eligible to apply.

Time Commitments

  • Fall and Spring Semester(s): 12-15 hours per week
  • Students are required to complete a total of 249 hours for the semester.

To Apply:

  • Complete the online application (Coming in June 2016)
  • Submit an unofficial copy of your transcript, one writing sample, and three references to Marilyn Epps in Room 100.

For more information, contact: Martina E. Cartwright, Assistant Professor: mcartwright@tmslaw.tsu.edu

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