For a brief description of some popular Civil Clinic placements, along with students’ comments about their experiences, read on. Note that there are three new Civil Clinic placements: Lawyers Helping Veterans, the Utah State Law Library located at the Matheson Courthouse, and the Athletics Compliance Office at the University of Utah.
Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake City: Family law: Includes divorce, custody, and domestic violence. Student: “I argued my first motion for a protective order before a commissioner under the (third year practice rule). I have also learned a great deal about the substantive law surrounding protective orders, and the processes used to prepare for hearings.”
Utah Legal Services: Poverty law with many areas of specialization, including landlord tenant, consumer law, elder, public benefits, farm workers, and domestic. Student: “(My supervisor) allows me a lot of hands-on tasks. I almost work entire cases by myself; she’s available for questions but I’ll interview clients, do the research, prep for hearings, interview witness, the lot!”
Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic: Victims’ rights in criminal cases. Topics of law most frequently encountered include domestic violence, the protective order process, rape, and victims’ rights law. Student: “The attorneys in the office are very helpful in explaining how to avoid emotional burnout when dealing with the types of clients that the Clinic advocates on behalf of, and that has been a very enlightening experience so far this summer.”
Guardian ad Litem: Represent children in Juvenile Court abuse, neglect, parental termination cases and District Court cohabitant abuse, divorce where abuse is alleged. Placements are available in Layton, downtown SLC or West Jordan. Student: “I am becoming very familiar with protective order hearings and the process surrounding them – from obtaining the file and providing a summary to the attorney in charge, to interviewing the children involved in the case, to meeting with both opposing attorneys and parents/parties before the hearing, then the hearing itself, and finally to the GAL making recommendations as to whether the PO should be supported and what visitation should look like for the other parent.”
Immigration Court Clinic: Assist to screen immigrants brought before the Court and counsel regarding possible defenses/voluntary departure. Assist with pro bono cases. Student: “It’s been a good learning experience to have to research complicated immigration law involving civil rights litigation and the federal government. I’ve also learned to let the detainee tell his story for a few minutes before I start asking questions even though I only have about 5 minutes with them. It lets them get out their worries out so we can move past them and get to the information I really need.”
Disability Law Center: Addresses legal problems arising from a client’s disability, e.g. institutional treatment or discrimination. Student: “I love my placement and the work I am doing. I have learned more about how the organization decides what actions to do on each case. We do not have enough resources to take every case to trial. Thus I have learned from my supervisor how they decide which cases to take to trial and which are best suited for administrative action.”
Athletics Compliance Office at the University of Utah (new!): The following description was supplied by the placement: “The Athletics Compliance Office monitors the Athletic Department’s observance of NCAA Legislation, Pac-12 Conference Regulations, and University rules and legislation. The Intern will assist Athletics Compliance Office staff with: NCAA Legislation Interpretation, student-athlete contracts, vendor contract review, rules education, monitoring recruiting activities, student-athlete employment, initial and continuing eligibility, financial aid, playing season regulations.” One internship opening is available Fall 2012; two internship positions are available Spring 2013. Ideally, the fall intern would stay for two semesters and one additional intern would join the office for the spring semester. Before confirming the internship, the Compliance Office has requested a short meeting with the potential intern to explain the internship and procedures. A statement of interest is required with the Civil Clinic application, and a résumé is welcomed.
Lawyers Helping Veterans (new!): Non-profit agency provides discounted legal services to veterans of the U.S. military, first responders, and teachers. Student: “(My supervisor) is very good about giving me very different cases to work on so I can get a wide range of experience such as family law, criminal law, and landlord tenant law.”
Utah State Law Library (new!): Interns work afternoons (anytime between noon and 4:30) at the information desk of the Utah State Law Library located in the Matheson Courthouse. The intern’s main duty is to help pro se litigants needing legal assistance. Duties include providing legal information (not legal advice), help with forms, and help with understanding civil procedure and the courts. From time to time, the interns help out with Self-Help Center patrons who need extra help completing OCAP interviews over the phone. This position requires a brief meeting with the Director of the Law Library before the internship is confirmed and a criminal background check. A statement of interest is required with the Civil Clinic application, and a résumé is welcomed. Student: “Work at the law library … (is) rewarding and (has) more interaction with people (than other law job). The law librarians are really awesome too and probably know more about civil procedure than most attorneys. It’s been a great experience.”