Civil Advocacy Clinic



Representation of low-income clients

The Civil Advocacy Clinic (CAC) (formerly called the General Practice Clinic) is a one-semester clinic in which student attorneys represent low-income clients in such areas as consumer protection, employment, family law, health, housing, public benefits and bankruptcy. Student attorneys use a range of legal skills on behalf of clients in settings that may include administrative tribunals and trial and appellate courts in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Student attorneys represent low-income clients in two-person teams. The teams represent 2-3 clients at a time.

The CAC has a day section for full-time 2L and 3L students and an evening section for part-time 3L and 4L students. All students attend a seminar, twice a week for day students and once a week for evening students. The seminar covers topics such as client-centered representation, interviewing, theory of the client, fact investigation, counseling, and negotiation. These practice areas will be analyzed through consideration of lawyering approaches reflected in popular films and other fact patterns. Day seminar students have an opportunity to practice lawyering skills in settings in which client interests are not jeopardized. These simulation exercises are videotaped and reviewed one-on-one with the faculty supervisor. Simulations are used in the evening section as time permits.

Student attorneys will share developments and issues in their cases with other students during case rounds. The developments in each team's cases expose the other students to topics that may not arise in their cases, and discussion of issues helps student attorneys grapple with ethical and other practice matters and concerns.

Students should be prepared to commit four hours for each hour of clinic credit. The caseload is kept small to permit students to reflect on their experiences but is large enough to provide students with a meaningful context for these reflections. A limited number of students may be given the opportunity to register for credit in an additional semester.