Clinical Programs - 1L Summer Clinics

UW Law School is committed to practical experience as a part of legal education. UW Law was one of the first law schools to initiate a clinical program, and since then, it has strengthened and increased the number of clinical opportunities it provides. Clinicals provide hands-on lawyering experiences with real people—clients, victims, witnesses, family members, lawyers, and judges—and give you a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a lawyer. Under the direct supervision of clinical professors or supervising attorneys, students meet with clients, perform factual investigations, research legal issues, prepare client letters, draft legal documents, and write briefs.

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Center for Patient Partnerships

The Center for Patient Partnerships is a national resource for strengthening the consumer perspective in health care. Students from the Law School, across campus, and throughout the country come to this interdisciplinary health advocacy center to learn critical legal and health advocacy skills while helping patients navigate the complex health care system. Gain experience with insurance appeals, public benefit enrollment, and medical decision making. Law students also serve as legal resource navigators in local primary care clinics for community members facing health-harming legal needs and provide preventative legal services on issues such as eviction and immigration.

Additional opportunities are available in patient experience research and organizational and legislative policy advocacy through student-led “case to cause” projects. Students have the option to pursue a certificate in Consumer Health Advocacy.


Area of LawHealth, Disability, Employment
Program StartSummer, Fall, Spring
Length of Program and CreditsOne semester ( 3-4 cr OR 7 cr for Summer) + one optional semester (3-4 cr)
Number of Positions3-6 Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone
DirectorMeg Gaines
Director Contactmeg.gaines@wisc.edu

Center for Patient Partnerships Homepage

Consumer Law Clinic

In this clinic, students represent consumers against scammers, fraudsters and predators in the marketplace. They learn to navigate through complex legal issues, including consumer credit transactions, forced arbitration, predatory lending, and unfair debt collection.

The Consumer Law Clinic functions as a dynamic consumer protection practice, featuring advocacy, litigation and consumer education. Students handle all aspects of consumer protection cases, from start to finish, including individual and class-action litigation in state and federal courts. They serve as amicus curiae on consumer protection issues before the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and Wisconsin Supreme Court and regularly partner with state agencies and private consumer lawyers.

Area of LawConsumer protection, Predatory lending, Foreclosure
Program StartSummer
Length of Program and CreditsSummer (7 cr) + 2 semesters (4 cr, 4 cr)
Number of Positions6 Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone
DirectorSarah Orr
Director Contactsarah.orr@wisc.edu

Consumer Law Clinic Homepage

Family Court Clinic

Family Court Clinic students represent individual clients in family law matters under the supervision of experienced clinical faculty and provide legal information and guidance to unrepresented litigants. Through direct service to the community, students learn how to think and act like lawyers. They develop an understanding not only of the social and economic contexts in which the litigants’ problems occur, but also of the possibilities and limitations of the legal system.

The clinic provides much-needed assistance to unrepresented family law litigants in our community. It simultaneously affords law students an extraordinary opportunity to develop their lawyering skills and advance their emotional intelligence through reflection and client interactions. Students work at the Dane County Courthouse as well as at a community office, located in a low-income, culturally diverse part of the city.

Area of LawFamily, Guardianship
Program StartSummer
Length of Program and CreditsSummer (7 cr) + 2 semesters (4 cr, 4 cr)
Number of Positions6 Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone
DirectorMarsha Mansfield
Director Contactmarsha.mansfield@wisc.edu

Family Court Clinic Homepage

Family Law Project

Above anything, we value our freedom and our families. But people who are incarcerated face great barriers to establishing or maintaining relationships with loved ones, especially their children. Students in the Family Law Project (FLP) work with incarcerated persons to establish and maintain their family relationships and to assist them with problems arising from the intersection of incarceration and family law. That work can have a life-changing impact on the clients’ current and future well-being, as well as on that of their children.

FLP students are responsible for every aspect of their clients’ cases. They strategize with their supervising attorney to determine the best course of action for every client; meet with their clients at prisons around the State; interview witnesses; investigate the facts of the case; draft and file court pleadings; negotiate settlement agreements; write trial (and sometimes appellate) briefs; advocate for their clients’ interests with guardians ad litem and opposing counsel; and, prepare for and conduct hearings before court commissioner and circuit court judges.


Area of LawFamily law, litigation
Program StartSummer
Length of Program and CreditsSummer (7 cr) + 2 semesters (5 cr, 4 cr)
Number of Positions6 Classes Eligible2L & 3L
Prerequisites
DirectorLeslie Shear
Director Contactldshear@wisc.edu

Family Law Project Homepage

Immigrant Justice Clinic

The Immigrant Justice Clinic represents clients in immigration proceedings before the Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The clinic occasionally also represents clients in state court proceedings related to their immigration case. The clinic's primary focus is on advocating for individuals who are facing immigration consequences as a result of criminal charges. However, the clinic also provides services in a wide range of other cases, including representing individuals who are fleeing persecution in their homelands and are seeking asylum in the US, and individuals who have been the victims of domestic violence or other crimes. In addition to handling cases, the clinic students conduct presentations in the community to educate noncitizens about their rights and to raise awareness about the challenges faced by immigrants in our area. The clinic students regularly visit immigration detainees in the nearby jail to provide "know your rights" information and conduct intakes.

The matters handled by the clinic allow students to develop core lawyering skills, such as interviewing, counseling, fact-investigation, legal research and brief-writing, and trial advocacy. All students will have the opportunity to present a case in immigration court. Students also develop public speaking and community-relations skills through outreach and education projects. The clinic encourages students to engage in a reflective practice that examines broader issues of human migration, social justice and human rights, and the role of lawyers and the legal system.

Area of LawImmigration Detention and Removal Proceedings, Immigration Consequences of Crimes, Humanitarian Immigration Law
Program StartSummer
Length of Program and CreditsSummer (7 cr) + 2 semesters (4 cr, 4 cr)
Number of Positions6 Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone
DirectorGeoffrey Heeren
Director Contactgeoffrey.heeren@wisc.edu

Immigrant Justice Clinic Homepage

Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic

The student attorneys in the Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic act as business and corporate counsel to more than 250 clients per year. Participation requires thinking like a lawyer and acting like an entrepreneur. Students work on legal needs including business formation, capital structure, angel and venture-backed securities, and employment and founders contracts. Students interested in intellectual property issues will file trademark and patent applications, perform patentability and freedom-to-operate analyses, and write proprietary and open-source licenses for technology clients. 

Located down the street from the Law School at 1403 University Avenue, the L&E Clinic operates similarly to a private practice law firm. Participants manage their own client load, bill time, manage and prepare documents, and report to supervising attorneys, other students and outside partners. 

Area of LawBusiness transactions
Program StartSummer start for core group; additions at fall and spring semester
Length of Program and CreditsDependent on mutual consent; Summer (7 cr) + 2 semesters (3-7, 3-7)
Number of Positions15-20 Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone; Business Organizations and Introduction to Intellectual Property recommended
DirectorAnne Smith
Director Contactasmith32@wisc.edu

Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic Homepage

Legal Assistance to Institutionalized Persons (LAIP)

LAIP has worked to fulfill the unmet needs of underserved and vulnerable prison inmates for over four decades. Students experience and reflect on the profound human consequences of an individual's involvement in the criminal system. The students are involved in real legal work. The first week, they meet clients and have client interviews. A student may draft a motion to a court by mid-summer. With the variety of issues inmates face, students get a variety of legal experiences, both criminal and civil. The students are the advocates for their clients; they are their voice. The student ensures that the clients receive justice in the system. They advocate on paper with motions and parole letters, and orally by representing clients at hearings. Students work closely with courts, opposing attorneys, criminal justice agencies and prison personnel.

Supervising attorneys offer support and guidance, but the student decides how to serve the clients' needs. Although students have their own clients, they are part of a team and expected to talk through problems, generate ideas, and offer each other support. Students see the results that they achieve for their clients. They see cases to the end. Each stage of a case offers different challenges, giving students a chance to experience client and court interaction at each point.

Area of LawCriminal, Family, Immigration
Program StartSummer
Length of Program and CreditsSummer (7 cr) + 2 semesters (3 cr, 3 cr)
Number of Positions18-22 Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesCriminal Procedure recommended
DirectorMary Prosser
Director Contactmmprosser@wisc.edu

Legal Assistance to Institutionalized Persons (LAIP) Homepage

Neighborhood Law Clinic

Students in this community-based law clinic, located in the heart of Madison's South Side, provide individual representation to clients in rental housing, public benefits, unpaid worker, and discrimination cases. Students’ legal work prevents families from becoming homeless and helps workers recover their unpaid wages. In addition, students may contribute to community advocacy projects, including legislative and policy analysis, legal education, or mobilization efforts.

The clinic provides a complex learning environment in which students develop lawyering skills and learn how to think critically about the role and limits of law as a force for justice and social change. Students engage in traditional litigation practice, using skills such as fact investigation, legal research, analysis, drafting, negotiation, counseling and trial work. Students also gain non-traditional lawyering skills through activities such as public speaking, drafting community education materials, and participating in local campaigns for social and economic justice.


Area of LawEmployment, Rental housing, Government benefits
Program StartSummer
Length of Program and CreditsSummer (7 cr) + 2 semesters (4 cr, 4 cr)
Number of Positions6 Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone
DirectorMitch
Director Contactmitch@wisc.edu

Neighborhood Law Clinic Homepage

Oxford Federal Project

Students assist inmates in federal correctional institutions with a wide variety of legal challenges. Under the supervision of an experienced supervising attorney, clinic students visit clients in prison; investigate and research their cases; and frequently correspond with clients, the U.S. Attorneys’ offices, and the U.S. Parole Commission, as well as with family members and witnesses. The Federal Appeals Project is a recent expansion of the Oxford Federal Project and offers students the opportunity to litigate federal criminal appeals assigned by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

On a regular basis, the students and their supervising attorney gather to grapple with the legal and ethical issues their cases raise. Oxford Federal Project and Federal Appeals Project students learn how to navigate through a complex legal system — taking on adversarial and collaborative roles — while advocating on behalf of their clients. Most students have opportunities to appear and advocate before judges, parole hearing examiners, immigration panels, or other decision-makers.


Area of LawCriminal, Family Law, Immigration
Program StartSummer
Length of Program and CreditsSummer (7 cr) + 2 semesters (2 cr, 2 cr)
Number of Positions6 Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesCriminal Procedure recommended
DirectorAdam Stevenson
Director Contactadam.stevenson@wisc.edu

Oxford Federal Project Homepage

Restorative Justice Project

RJP students work on victim-offender dialogue requests where they prepare for and facilitate face-to-face meetings between victims and their offenders. This process allows victims to obtain answers to lingering questions in the aftermath of a serious crime. It also allows both sides to gain an understanding that reaches far beyond the crime itself and often has a profound, positive impact on both of their lives.

Throughout this intensive process, students cultivate and hone their mediation and client interviewing skills and gain valuable insight into asking difficult questions, identifying creative solutions to complex issues, multi-party communication, listening, and managing conflict in challenging situations. Students also get a unique perspective on all sides of the criminal justice system, supporting and assisting crime victims and exploring offenders’ motivations.

RJP students have the option of also working on community-based restorative justice applications of their choice to design restorative responses to crime, violence, and other issues such as racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

Students also use restorative justice to address conflict and harm in the community. In project areas of their choice, they work with community leaders and local organizations to respond to crime, violence, and other issues such as racial disparities in the criminal justice system. By utilizing restorative justice practices in this way, students provide positive alternatives to the criminal justice system.

Area of LawVictim-Offender Dialogues, Mediation, Community Conferencing/Alternatives to Prosecution, Youth Courts, Prison Programs, Criminal Justice Policy & Procedure
Program StartSummer
Length of Program and CreditsSummer (7 cr) + 2 semesters (3-4 cr. preferred each semester)
Number of Positions6 Classes Eligible2L & 3L
Prerequisites
DirectorJonathan Scharrer
Director Contactjonathan.scharrer@wisc.edu

Restorative Justice Project Homepage

Wisconsin Innocence Project

Law students in the Wisconsin Innocence Project have worked to free more than 20 people, relying on DNA technology, changes in forensic science, and on old-fashioned investigation to uncover the truth. The project seeks to exonerate the innocent, educate students and reform the criminal justice system by identifying and remedying the causes of wrongful convictions.

Students investigate actual innocence claims by searching for newly discovered evidence or evidence that was unknown at the time of trial. Untested physical evidence, changes in scientific knowledge, or a recantation can all form the basis to support a claim of actual innocence. When the new evidence is strong enough, students work to litigate the claims in court. Through their work on these cases, the students learn about the operation of the criminal justice system and how our system can sometimes go awry. In proving innocence years after a conviction, the students gain insight into how a wrongful conviction can occur and how it might have been prevented. By participating in this project, students work to give wrongly convicted persons, giving them their lives and freedom back after years of unjust incarceration.

Area of LawCriminal, Appellate advocacy
Program StartSummer
Length of Program and Credits Dependent on mutual consent; Summer (7 cr) + 2 semesters (3-7, 3-7)
Number of Positions18 anticipated Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesCriminal Procedure recommended
DirectorSteven Wright
Director Contactshwright@wisc.edu

Wisconsin Innocence Project Homepage


Frequently Asked Questions


Who can enroll in clinical programs, and when?

Clinical programs are available to students in their second and third years of law school. Some programs, such as LAIP, target students who are entering the summer after their first year. The clinics vary in their timing and duration. Some require only a one-semester commitment. Others require a fall-spring commitment or full-year commitment. Still others are available as stand-alone summer programs. Finally, clinics may require a prerequisite course (such as Evidence) before students can enroll, and most require that students take a classroom component, as well as a clinical component, during the clinical experience.

How do students enroll in clinical programs?

Most clinics are "consent of instructor" courses; that is, they do not have open enrollment, but instead require students to apply and be accepted into the clinic. The clinics provide information on how to apply at information sessions that occur on several occasions in the fall semester. In addition, the contact persons listed on the clinic Web pages will provide information on how to apply.

Where do students work if they are enrolled in clinical programs?

That depends on the program. All of the Law School's live-client clinics are housed in the Law School, and the students do the bulk of their work in the clinic offices. But they may travel to meet clients outside of Madison (e.g. LAIP clients are incarcerated around Wisconsin), or in Madison (e.g. the Neighborhood Law Clinic maintains offices on the south side of Madison, where students staff office hours). Students enrolled in the Prosecution Project and the Public Defender Project are placed in offices all around the State of Wisconsin.

Are students enrolled in clinics able to appear in court?

Student activities in law school clinical programs are governed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Under SCR 50, students who have earned 45 credits can appear in court on behalf of clients, as long as they are accompanied by a supervising attorney.

How many credits do students receive for their clinical work? Is it graded?

For the clinical component of their experience, Law School Rule 3.14(5) requires a student to perform a minimum of 45 hours of work per semester per credit (assuming a 15-week semester, that comes out to a minimum of 4 hours per credit per week). Thus, the number of credits will vary, depending on how many hours of work a given clinical program requires for enrollment. Most students enroll for 7 credits during the summer which corresponds to full-time (40 hours per week) for the 12 week session. The clinical work is generally graded as Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory. The classroom component of the students' experience will generally involve 1-3 credits, and can be graded on a Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory, or letter-grade basis.

Do clinical course credits apply toward Law School graduation requirements?

Yes. All credits earned in clinics, whether for the clinical or classroom component of the students' work, apply toward the 90 credits required for graduation. In addition, a maximum of five clinical credits may be applied toward the 60-credit diploma privilege requirement. Separate from the clinical component, the classroom component of many clinical programs may apply toward the 60-credit rule. Students should contact the instructor(s) of each clinic they are interested in, to determine the exact title of classroom courses that accompany the clinical work.

Is funding or tuition remission available for clinical experiences?

UW Law School endeavors to make experiential learning opportunities accessible for as many students as possible. To the extent that funds are available, the Law School offers tuition remission and modest living allowance for students participating in full-time summer clinical experiences. Tuition remission for summer clinics means that students can earn credits during the summer semester without having to pay tuition, but they are required to pay nominal student segregation fees. During the recruitment and application period each fall, students will be provided with specific details about funding and tuition remission.

Can students create their own Clinical Program?

Clinical courses are governed by Law School Rule 3.14. Students are not free to "construct their own" clinical program or receive academic credit for any internship or externship that has not been approved by the Law School. However, students can seek to have a potential externship opportunity approved by the Law School and, if accepted, receive appropriate academic credit. If interested, contact Externship Director Jane Heymann, Room 5103.

Apply

The Law School’s summer clinics use the Symplicity system for applying for clinic positions. The Symplicity system includes the Student Job Board and is used for On Campus Interviewing (OCI) during the second and third years of law school.

  • To access this system, click the following link:
    https://law-wisc-csm.symplicity.com/students/
  • Once logged into Symplicity, click the OCI tab near the top of the page.
  • On the main OCI page, select the clinic session.
  • From there, you will be able to review the various clinics and their application requirements.

The Clinical Fair will be held on Monday, October 30, 2017. All students interested in participating in a clinical program during the 2018-19 summer/academic year are encouraged to attend. Please print out and bring this guide to the Summer Law Clinics Fair with you. The application session begins October 31, 2017. You may apply to up to five clinics. To apply, submit an application to each clinic you select. Make sure to rank the clinics in order of preference. Applications for Summer 2018 and the following 2018-19 school year are due Wednesday, November 29, by 10:59 p.m. There will be no exceptions. Each clinic requires a resume and cover letter; some clinics may ask for additional materials. In addition, some clinics require in-person interviews for students selected for an interview. Sign up for interviews will be available on the clinic’s Symplicity page following selection of students for interviews. Following interviews and review of student applications, clinics will notify students with offers on February 1, 2018.



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