Planning for a Clinic

There are many considerations when registering for a clinic including:

  • What your interests are
  • Whether you would rather take a clinic in your second or third year
  • Your semester course load
  • Prerequisites

Note: You cannot enroll in an externship and a clinic during the same semester

If you are enrolled in a clinic and your case carries over to the next semester, and you wish to continue work on your case, you will not be able to remain working with your case as an Advanced Advocacy Clinic student if you are also enrolled in an Externship for that semester.

Director of Clinical Programs Dveera Segal

Selecting a Clinic

No matter which Clinic you take, you will be directly responsible for clients and you will learn how to be an ethical, zealous advocate. As you are making your selection, you may want to consider some of the casework and credit differences between the clinics. Following are 2 charts that show some of the similarities and differences in the work you will do for each of the clinical courses.

Please note that each student’s experience is different, and we cannot guarantee that your experience will conform to the following checklist.  We have prepared this composite overview to help you clarify your priorities.

GENERAL

ACTIVITIES

CARES CLINIC

 

CIVIL JUSTICE CLINIC

CLINIC FOR

LAW &

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

 

FLAC

 CLINIC

FEDERAL

TAX CLINIC

INTER-DISCIPLINARY

MENTAL & PHYSICAL HEALTH LAW CLINIC

Emphasis on Courtroom Litigation

x

x

 

x

 

x

Emphasis on Negotiation

 

x

x

x

x

 

Emphasis on
Business Advising

 

 

x

 

 

 

Community Education

 

 

x

x

x

 

All Immigrant Clientele

x

 

 

x

 

 

Some Clients in Detention

x

 

 

x

 

 

Travel to Clients & Hearings

x

Casework could entail travel outside of the Metro-politan Phila. area

x

x

x

Casework often entails travel outside of the Metropolitan Philadelphia Area.

In the fall, students also participate in a farm-based outreach session.

 

 

 

x

Students are required to attend at least 1 Tax Court Calendar Call in Philadelphia

           x
             

Always Work in Teams

x

May Work in Teams

May Work in Teams

x

x

May Work in Teams

Caseload per Student Team

1-2

2-4

(per student)
 

2-3

CFLE counselors will often advise on multiple issues/matters for each of their 2-3 clients

1-3

4-6

2-4

Practice in State Court

 

x

 

x

 

x

Practice before Administrative Agency

x

x

 

x

x

x

Prerequisites

None

3 semesters of law school; and

Evidence

None

3 semesters of law school

None

3 semesters of law school; and Evidence

Credits

8

6

6

6

6*

6

Satisfies Practical Writing Requirement

x

x

x

x

x

x

 


Substantive Law Clusters:

 


CLINICS

CARES

 

Civil 

Justice

 

Clinic for

Law &

Entrepreneurship

 

Farmworker

Legal Aid

Clinic

 

 

Federal

Tax

 

Inter-

Disciplinary

Mental & 

Physical 

Health

 Law Clinic

Administrative Law

x

x

 

x

x

x

Business Organizations

 

 

x

 

 

 

Business Planning

 

 

x

 

 

 

Child Abuse Expungement

 

        x

 

 

 

 

Civil Forfeiture

 

        x

 

 

 

 

Consumer Law

 

        x

 

 

 

 

Contracts

 

 

             x

 

 

 

Disability Rights

 

 

 

 

 

           x

Elder Law

 

        x

 

 

 

           x

Employment Law

 

        x

             x

 

 

 

Family Law

 

        x

 

              x

 

 

Federal Income Tax

 

 

 

 

        x

 

Federal Tax Collection

 

 

 

 

        x

 

Federal Taxation of Business Entities

 

 

             x

 

        x

 

Guardianship

 

 

 

 

 

           x

Health Law

 

 

 

 

 

           x

Immigration

         x

 

 

               x

 

 

Intellectual Property

 

 

             x

 

 

 

International Human Rights

         x

 

 

               x

 

 

Landlord Tenant

 

       x

 

 

 

 

Legal Profession

         x

       x

             x

               x

        x

           x

Public Benefits

 

       x

 

 

 

           x

Social Security Disability

 

       x

 

 

 

           x

Subsidized Housing

 

       x

 

 

 

 

Wage & Hour Claims

 

       x

 

                x

 

 

Workers’ Compensation

 

 

 

                x

 

 

When to Take a Clinic:

As with all of your registration decisions, you should enroll in a clinic when you feel that you will derive the greatest educational benefit.  There is no single best time within your law school career to schedule your clinical experiences. As clinical courses require a significant time commitment and award a substantial number of academic credits, you must plan how you will fit them into your time in law school.

Clinics help students integrate legal theory and the actual practice of the profession. A clinical course will give you a new perspective on how the law functions in society and how lawyers behave. This additional perspective will enrich your learning in your substantive law courses. 

 

Taking a clinical course will also help you to learn about yourself and see what aspects of legal practice you enjoy and in which you can be successful. You can then use this knowledge to make better choices about job opportunities or other courses.  Students often report that their clinic course experiences are an asset in applying for jobs.

 

Some students choose to take a clinical course in the second year of law school, enabling them to assume the role of lawyer as early as possible, applying their classroom learning to real cases and providing valuable services to clients in disadvantaged populations. 

 

Many students prefer to wait until their third year of law school, seeing the clinic as a transition between law school and their professional career. Taking a clinic later in law school allows you to benefit from having taken additional substantive and/or procedural courses that you can then apply to your work in the clinic. In addition, some clinics have prerequisites which preclude students from enrolling earlier. Lastly, third-year law students have priority for a majority of the clinic spaces.  Please consult the information for each specific clinic for further clarification.

Fitting a Clinic Into Your Schedule

What Other Courses Should You Take and When?

Each clinical course requires that you commit a substantial amount of your time and energy.  They all provide exposure to real practice, give you direct responsibility for clients’ cases and include close faculty supervision.  As a result, they often award more credits and are always more time-intensive than classroom courses.  You will not be able to control when your cases and clients will need your attention. Flexibility in your schedule is vital.

Students have found that it is best to:

  • take a clinical course in a semester in which you have a lighter course load and a relatively low number of credits.
  • In particular, it is best to limit the number of other courses you are taking in the same semester as a clinic to no more than three.  Of course, this will vary with the number of credits awarded by the particular clinic you take. 
  • You should think carefully before combining a clinic with any outside employment.

In addition to specific course prerequisites (see the When to Take a Clinic tab), some other classroom courses are particularly relevant to the work you will do in a clinical course. 


Recommended or Required Courses:

  • Legal Profession is required for graduation.  Issues of professional responsibility arise in all clinics.  You may choose to take this course either before, after, or concurrently with any clinical course.
  • Trial Practice teaches courtroom skills which are helpful in every clinic that engages in litigation and dispute resolution on behalf of its clients. You may choose to take Trial Practice before, after, or concurrently with your clinic course.
  • Civil Pre-Trial Practice develops practical and analytical skills in the pretrial stages of civil litigation. You may find it helpful to take Civil Pre-Trial Practice either prior to or concurrently with the Civil Justice Clinic or the Farmworker Legal Aid Clinic.
  • Business and Transactional Practice courses may assist in advancing the substantive and practical knowledge that students will use to represent clients in the Clinic for Law and Entrepreneurship (CLE). You may find it helpful to take courses such as Business Organizations, Taxation of Business Entities, Intellectual Property, Business Planning, Drafting Business Transactions or In-House Counsel, prior to or concurrently with the CLE, keeping in mind that effective CLE counselors are characterized by their openness to learning, and high levels of commitment and intellectual engagement, rather than any particular subject matter expertise or practical background.

 

Note:  The following clinics satisfy the Practical Writing Requirement for graduation:

 

Various other substantive and procedural courses may be helpful to particular clinics.  To see a list of the substantive areas of law practice for each clinic, see the Selecting a Clinic tab.

If you are considering focusing your coursework in a particular legal practice area, you may wish to refer to the Focus Areas of Study pages, located on the Academics tab.

 

Overlapping Course: 

All of the clinics cover the topics of Interviewing and Counseling extensively.  Students find that there is significant overlap and repetition between this course and any clinic. 

You may wish to consult the Director of the Clinic in which you are interested as to the benefits of taking particular courses and determining the best timing.  In addition, you may wish to contact students who have taken particular clinical courses to obtain information about their experiences, both in terms of the time commitment and the benefits they received.