Clinical legal studies program

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1 Clinical legal studies program Course description

2 A MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR Since the early 1950s, Thurgood Marshall School of Law has provided clinical education to students and services to the community through its Clinical Legal Studies Program. Our Clinical Legal Studies Program is firmly rooted in the advocacy and assistance of those underrepresented in our society. The legal clinics are designed to provide each participating student with a quality clinical experience. The Clinical Legal Studies Program is divided in categories to include a classroom component, externships, and live-client representation. During their third year, students have an opportunity to participate in a variety of clinical programs. The Clinical Legal Studies Program ensures various avenues for students to work on real cases as part of their legal education. Students work and interact directly with individual clients in one of our live-client clinics or by close observation and hands-on participation in one of our externship clinics. Our legal clinics offer students an alternative method in learning the lawyering process that is not obtained from substantive law courses. Our goal is to prepare students for a profession that requires both substantive and skills knowledge. Lydia D. Johnson Clinical Instructor Director of Clinical Legal Studies Program

3 MISSION STATEMENT Our mission is to enhance law school education by providing a real-life lawyering experience for the law student, offering high quality legal services to a community that has been historically underrepresented and creating positive awareness of Texas Southern University and Thurgood Marshall School of Law within the community. OPPORTUNITIES Learn the law in a real-life context Serve traditionally underrepresented clients Develop professional and problem-solving skills Become aware of public interest, public policy and government concerns Engage in critical reflection on the lawyer s role in relation to clients and society CLINICS Each clinic provides training, individual supervision and feedback from clinical instructors or supervising attorneys. In addition to the externship or live-client clinic course, each student is required to enroll in a practice skills course which serves as the classroom component. The Clinical Legal Studies Program offers three externships and five live-client clinics: Civil Law Externship Criminal Law Externship Judicial Law Externship Innocence Project Immigration Law Clinic Civil Law Clinic Criminal Law Clinic Wills and Probate Clinic

4 CLINICAL FACULTY AND ADMINISTRATION Lydia D. Johnson Criminal Law Clinic Director of Clinical Legal Studies Program (713) Martina Cartwright Wills Law Clinic Clinical Instructor/Staff Attorney (713) Maurice Hew Immigration Law Clinic Clinical Instructor/Staff Attorney (713) Thelma Harmon Civil Law Clinic Clinical Instructor/Staff Attorney (713) Shawn McDonald Innocence Project Clinical Instructor/Staff Attorney (713) Norma Lemon-Pearson Office Administrator (713) (713)

5 EXTERNSHIP PURPOSE An externship is apprentice-like training in a legal environment where students gain practical experience in an area of law. The externship clinic removes the students from the classroom environment and places them in the working environment to enable them to apply the specific substantive knowledge they gained in the classroom. The externship clinic also provides students with opportunities to define and pursue learning goals and explore career interest. STANDARD OF CONDUCT The highest degree of professional conduct is expected of each extern. An assignment in any agency must be taken seriously. Performance as an extern will reflect directly on Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law, the student and the student s grade. Additionally, students must adhere to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and also observe the specific standards that are established by the agency. PLACEMENT SITES No student is required to obtain his or her own placement site. Private law offices and attorneys are prohibited except for extreme circumstances. The Law School does welcome new agencies to add to the inventory of placement sites. PERFORMANCE EVALUATION Students are evaluated in the following areas by their placement site supervisor: Quality of work Grasp of concepts Motivation and attitude Research and writing technique Rapport with employees Commitment to schedule Professional Responsibility Assignments and reports

6 JUDICIAL EXTERNSHIP This clinic places third year students who have excelled academically in law school with state and federal trial and appellate judges. The student will learn the legal process from the unique perspective of a sitting judge and be involved in judicial decision-making by assisting the judge in ruling upon motions, case or evidentiary objections. While the assignments of the students may vary, a typical externship may involve researching legal issues, evaluating legal argument, writing judicial memorandum, drafting opinions and orders, observing trials and motions calendars. The student s research and writing skills will be enhanced by drafting a variety of legal documents as well as an exposure to the interactions between lawyers and the court. The student is required to work at their placement site for one hundred and twenty (120) hours during the semester under the supervision of the judge or the judge s designee. Prior to registering for this clinic, students must submit an application, resume, writing sample and transcript and be interviewed and approved by the Director. MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS 2.5 cumulative GPA for state trial courts or 3.0 cumulative GPA for federal and appellate courts Approval by the Director prior to registering (consideration for this program by Director, submit a resume with writing sample and transcript) PREREQUISITE COURSES Civil Procedure, Commercial Law, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Lawyering Process, Professional Responsibility, Trial Simulation. PLACEMENT SITES Administrative Tribunals, Bankruptcy Courts, Federal Court of Appeals, Federal District Courts, State Appellate Courts, State District Courts CLASSROOM COMPONENT COURSE Civil Trial Practice, Course No. 927, Credit hours - 2 * In addition to prerequisite courses, students are strongly encouraged to take related electives. Course No. 909, Credit hours 3

7 CIVIL LAW EXTERNSHIP This clinic provides students with the practical application of legal concepts. First, in the classroom component, students walk through the anatomy of a civil case. Second, students are placed with a city, county, state, federal agency or nonprofit to work as an intern and learn from observation and experience. The classroom component introduces the practical application of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Additionally, the classroom component prepares students by engaging in simulated interviewing, motion practice, deposition practice, interrogatory drafting, simulated pre-trial procedures, and role-playing on jury selection. The placement component will allow the student to observe and participate in the activities of a legal environment. These activities may include writing legal briefs, drafting motions, interviewing clients, and conducting legal arguments in court. The student is required to work at their placement site for one hundred and twenty (120) hours during the semester under the supervision of an attorney for the agency. Prior to registering for this clinic, students must submit an application, be interviewed by the clinical instructor and receive an approval by the Director. PREREQUISITE COURSES Civil Procedure, Commercial Law, Contracts, Evidence, Lawyering Process, Professional Responsibility, Property and Trial Simulation. PLACEMENT SITES Attorney General s Office, City of Houston Legal Department, Harris County Attorney s Office, Metropolitan Transit Authority, Housing Authority, U.S. Customs Office, Immigration and Naturalization Office, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Service, Office of the Consulado General de Mexico, Port of Houston Authority, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas General Land Office, Texas Department of Human Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs CLASSROOM COMPONENT COURSE Civil Trial Practice, Course No. 927, Credit hours - 2 * In addition to prerequisite courses, students are strongly encouraged to take related electives. Course No. 908, Credit hours - 3

8 CRIMINAL LAW EXTERNSHIP This clinic introduces the student to two practical application concepts: first, students walk through the anatomy of a criminal case in the classroom component and second, students are placed in a local prosecutor s office to work as an intern and learn from observation and experience. The classroom component introduces the student to the practical application of Texas Criminal Procedure from arrest to the disposition of a case. Students participate, experience and are exposed to search and arrest warrants, indictments and complaints, tangible evidence, pre-trial arguments, hearings, and pleas. Additionally, students are involved in extensive criminal litigation and may actually perform voir dire, opening statements, crossexamination, direct examination, or closing statements in a trial. The placement component will assign students to a prosecutor to be trained in the art of prosecutorial advocacy. The student is required to work at their placement site for one hundred and twenty (120) hours during the semester under the supervision of an attorney for the agency. Prior to registering for this clinic, students must submit an application, be interviewed by the clinical instructor and receive an approval by the Director. PREREQUISITE COURSES Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Lawyering Process, Professional Responsibility and Trial Simulation. PLACEMENT SITES Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, Harris County, Montgomery County, Victoria County, Waller County, Wharton County CLASSROOM COMPONENT COURSE Criminal Trial Practice, Course No. 902, Credit hours - 2 * In addition to prerequisite courses, students are strongly encouraged to take related electives. Course No. 907, Credit hours - 3

9 IMMIGRATION LAW CLINIC The Administrative Law Clinic is operated as an in-house live-client clinic. A full-time clinical instructor/staff attorney will supervise students participating in this clinic. This clinic offers students with an opportunity to acquire valuable and practical experience in the area of immigration. The course is designed to develop skills in the areas of client interviewing, drafting of pleadings, pre-trial motion practice, courtroom presentation, and trial and advocacy skills. Student may be presented with the opportunity of a trial. Students completing this course must demonstrate competency in handling administrative law cases from the initial client interview through court proceedings. Prior to registering for this clinic, students must submit an application, be interviewed by the clinical instructor and receive an approval by the Director. PREREQUISITE COURSES Lawyering Process, Civil Procedure, Professional Responsibility, Trial Simulation, Evidence, Constitutional Law, and Immigration Law or Administrative Law. CLASSROOM COMPONENT COURSE Immigration Trial Practice, Course No. 933, Credit hours - 2 * In addition to prerequisite courses, students are strongly encouraged to take related electives. Course No. 934, Credit hours - 4

10 CIVIL & WILLS LAW CLINIC The Civil Law Clinic is operated as an in-house live-client clinic. A full-time clinical instructor/staff attorney will supervise students participating in this clinic. This clinic provides students with an opportunity to acquire valuable and practical experience in the area of family law, probate, wills and guardianship. The course assists in developing skills in the areas of client interviewing, drafting of pleadings, pre-trial motion practice, courtroom presentation, and trial and advocacy. Students completing this course must demonstrate competency is handling civil law cases from the initial client interview through court proceedings. Prior to registering for this clinic, students must submit an application, be interviewed by the clinical instructor and receive an approval by the Director. PREREQUISITE COURSES Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Evidence, Lawyering Process, Professional Responsibility, Trial Simulation. CLASSROOM COMPONENT COURSE Civil Trial Practice, Course No. 927, Credit Hours - 2 * In addition to prerequisite courses, students are strongly encouraged to take related electives. Course No. 935, Credit hours - 4

11 CRIMINAL LAW CLINIC & INNOCENSE PROJECT The Criminal Law Clinic is operated as an in-house live-client clinic. A full-time clinical instructor/staff attorney will supervise students participating in this clinic. This clinic presents students with an opportunity to acquire valuable and practical experience in the area of criminal and juvenile law. The course assists in developing skills in the areas of client interviewing, investigative techniques, drafting of criminal law pleadings, pre-trial motion practice, plea negotiations, courtroom presentation, and trial and oral advocacy skills. Student may be presented with the opportunity of a trial. Students completing this course must demonstrate competency in handling misdemeanor criminal and juvenile law related cases from the initial client interview through court proceedings. Prior to registering for this clinic, students must submit an application, be interviewed by the clinical instructor and receive an approval by the Director. PREREQUISITE COURSES Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Lawyering Process, Professional Responsibility, Trial Simulation. CLASSROOM COMPONENT COURSE Criminal Trial Practice, Course No. 902, Credit hours - 2 * In addition to prerequisite courses, students are strongly encouraged to take related electives. Course No. 960, Credit hours 4

12 TRIAL PRACTICE The immigration, civil, and criminal trial practice courses work in conjunction with Thurgood Marshall School of Law s Clinical Legal Studies Program. Students who enroll in: (a) administrative law clinic must enroll in administrative trial practice; (b) civil law clinic or civil externship must enroll in civil trial practice; (c) criminal law clinic or criminal externship must enroll in criminal trial practice; (d) judicial externship may enroll in civil trial practice. In these courses, students will examine how lawyers, litigants, and government officials interact in investigations, litigation, and appeals. Students will develop legal skills, including but not limited to: Client interviewing Investigation of cases Drafting of pleadings Pretrial motion practice Advocacy techniques COURSE NUMBERS Immigration Trial Practice, Course No. 933, Credit hours - 2 Civil Trial Practice, Course No. 932, Credit hours - 2 Criminal Trial Practice, Course No. 902, Credit hours - 2

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