Clinical legal education: hands-on learning

Chances are, if you’ve researched UHLC at all, you’ve read or heard about our amazing clinics.  We offer six options – Civil Practice, Consumer Law, Criminal Defense, Immigration, Mediation, and Transactional clinics.  Each one affords students the opportunity to get a feel for what the legal process is like when dealing with actual clients in the real world.  Clinics are open to 2Ls and 3Ls and vary in their requirements to apply; however, students interested in signing up for a clinic generally have no issue getting into the one of their choice.

Below are some FAQs regarding our clinical program (found at http://www.law.uh.edu/clinic/ClinicsandExternships.pdf).

What clinic should I take?

That depends on your interests.  The most obvious difference between the clinics is the types of cases handled – criminal, civil, immigration, transactional, etc.  All the clinics teach a similar set of lawyering skills.  If your goal is to learn a particular area of the law, take the clinic handling that type of law.  If your goal is to learn the lawyering skills you will need in practice, it does not matter which clinic you take.

What clients do the clinics represent?

In most of the clinics, the clients are individuals and organizations who are not in the financial position to otherwise obtain legal representation.

Do student attorneys in the clinics work with real clients?

Absolutely.  Students work with actual clients as the student attorney.  Students take primary responsibility for developing a case strategy and performing all the legal work on the case.  Federal and Texas laws permit students to provide direct representation in various courts and administrative tribunals under the supervision of a faculty supervisor.

Is there a limit on the number of clinics I can take?

Yes, you are limited to fifteen credit hours of clinical courses.  Please note that the government, nonprofit, and judicial externships are also subject to a separate cap.

How many hours a week will I spend in the clinic?

The number of hours spent each week depends on the number of credits you are receiving and the type of clinic.  For a three credit clinic you will work roughly nine hours per week, including class time.  For a four credit clinic, you work about 14 hours per week, including class time.

Are the clinics graded?

Yes, they are graded according to the grading system applicable to other second and third year classes.  The only exceptions are the Mediation Clinic, Judicial Externships, Criminal Practice Externship, and Government/Nonprofit Externships, which are graded Pass/Fail. The class associated with the Mediation Clinic is graded.