Policies Regarding the Clinical Program

Policies Regarding the Clinical Program

  1. The Clinical Program will ensure that all clinics / internships are conducted in compliance with the American Bar Association’s Standards for Approval of Law Schools[1] and the American Association of Law School’s Regulations[2].  When these Standards or Regulations require a particular practice or structure, the Clinical Program Director will ensure that College Council is apprised of any necessary change in SJQ policies to bring them into compliance with required policies.
  2. The Clinical Program grants credit for work outside the law school (i.e. “internships”, “externships” or “field placements”) only when the “internship” or “placement” is accompanied by a course (“classroom component”).  The course must provide opportunities for a student to reflect upon the field placement experiences.  The course should also provide instruction to enhance the student’s abilities to assume substantial responsibility at the placement and to derive maximum educational benefits from the placement.
  3. The College Council has approved each “Clinic” identifying learning goals and methods, determining its length (semester or year-long), identifying and approving the requisite course, approving the accompanying type of placement(s), and authorizing the amount of credit that may be granted for the placement.
  4. All clinic placements require 50 hours of substantial legal work for each credit. Most clinic placements have been approved for 2 or 3 credits per semester.  Only the Judicial Clinic and the International Clinic permit full-time placements of up to 12 credits for third-year students.
  5. Each Clinic is overseen by at least one member of the full-time faculty (which may be the Clinical Program Director) who evaluates the student’s academic achievement in the placement and ensures that the credit granted is commensurate with the time and effort required and with the quality of the student’s educational experiences. The faculty member with oversight responsibility is authorized:
    1. to approve particular placements and supervisors to meet the educational goals and methods of a Clinic.
    2. to permit a student to enroll solely in the placement component of a Clinic for a second or third semester as long as the educational benefit provided in the subsequent term is substantial and oversight involves the student reflecting through periodic reports or meetings with the faculty member.  (The student may repeat a particular clinic but serve the second semester in a different placement, or the student may continue in a placement provided new learning opportunities and responsibilities are made available.)
    3. to permit a student to enroll for up to 5 credits in any one semester if educationally appropriate and if the student is simultaneously enrolled in the classroom component.
    4. Arranged Clinic — Directed Study. Occasionally a student will have a unique educational interest that is not addressed by the existing curriculum and for which a clinical placement would be useful.  If a student has completed any relevant substantive or skills courses, the student may apply to engage in Directed Research with an Arranged Clinical Placement.  The Directed Research must provide opportunities for a student to reflect upon the field placement experiences as well as instruction to enhance the student’s abilities to assume substantial responsibility at the placement and to derive maximum educational benefits from the placement. This requires coordination between the placement and the faculty member overseeing the Directed Research and approval by both the faculty member and the Clinical Program Director.  The writing the student produces for the Directed Research may include reflective writing as well as or instead of a substantial research paper, depending upon the credit awarded.
    5. From time-to-time a faculty member wishes to augment an existing course with the opportunity to engage in related field placement experiences. Such a “Clinic” may be created by the faculty member and the Clinical Program Director jointly approving this arrangement and ensuring that it complies with Policy #2 above.
    6. From time-to-time a student seeking a particular placement is unable to enroll in the classroom component that has been designated as part of the Clinic.  The Clinical Program Director may authorize that a different course serve as the classroom component provided the faculty member teaching that course agrees and the arrangement complies with Policy #2 above.

College Council – April 12, 2010

College of Law Student Handbook:  Curriculum

1. Clinical Programs and Course Requirements

The following courses, which shall be graded, are required of students receiving credit for clinical placements:

  • The Criminal Process course and some instruction in oral advocacy (such as provided in Trial Advocacy) to precede or accompany the Criminal Clinic.
  • The Lawyering Skills Course or approved similar instruction in interactive lawyering skills to precede or accompany the Civil Clinic.
  • The Judicial Process course to accompany or follow any work in the Judicial Clinic.

All field supervising attorneys should be approved by the Clinical Subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee and the Dean as adjunct clinical instructors.

College Council – April 24, 1985

Clinical placements are normally 2 to 3 credit hours, but the Clinical Program Director may approve up to 5 credits (subject to the 14 credit maximum for all credit toward graduation requirements). Enrollment for more than 5 credit hours in a semester-long clinic placement (except the judicial externship—see below) must be approved by the College Council and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

College Council – December 6, 2001; March 3, 2005


[1]ABA Standard 305 governs “Study Outside the Classroom”

[2] AALS Regulation 6-7.10