Clinical Opportunities

Professor Mae Quinn and Clinic Students at the St. Louis County Courthouse.

Recognizing that acquiring professional skills and values in a real world context is an essential component of legal education, Washington University Law guarantees every interested student at least one clinical opportunity during his or her second or third year of law school.

Listed below are clinical courses available to all law students at Washington University Law.

Live Client Clinics

Students enrolled in the school's client-based clinics serve as members of professional teams representing clients.  Law students serve as lead or co-counsel in the legal representation of and advocacy for clients. Washington University students from disciplines such as social work, engineering, environmental studies, and medicine also enroll in some of the clinics. They too work on behalf of clients as part of these multidisciplinary teams offering legal services to individual and institutional clients. In these clinics, students engage in transactional or litigation practice in a range of legal matters from individual disputes or transactions, to complex litigation and policy advocacy, to creating property rights in intellectual property, to advising the development of new legal entities and organizational policies. 

Most students will undertake a variety of legal work, including client interviewing and counseling, fact investigation, pretrial practice, litigation, appeals, business planning, oral advocacy, and motion and brief writing. Law students in the Criminal Justice and Civil Justice Clinics are most likely to appear in court, but students in the Interdisciplinary Environmental and Appellate Clinics also have opportunities to appear in court. Students in the transactional Intellectual Property and Nonprofit Organizations Clinic will work with community and other nonprofit organizations and businesses and with artists and other creators of intellectual property, all with an aim of avoiding litigation. Faculty members directly supervise and guide all phases of student practice, encouraging students to treat cases and projects as their own and to assume both the initiative and responsibility for the progress and successful completion of their cases or projects. The clinics are designed to help students develop their skills in and perspectives on client advocacy and litigation, and develop a structured, reflective approach to the lawyering process that will assist them in their legal studies and legal career.

Lawyering and Externship Courses

Our rich and diverse group of lawyering courses place students out in the community as members of law offices and community organizations at which students provide legal services under the direct supervision of an on-site attorney or judge. These courses expose students to a variety of legal settings in non-profit, community, governmental law offices, and judicial chambers, and a variety of experiences in litigation, policy, judicial and organizational advocacy  settings. These externships are local, national and international and include such placements as federal public defender offices, United States Attorneys offices, local, national and international courts, legal services organizations, and Congressional and Administrative offices in Washington, D.C. Washington University Law faculty supervise the experiences of the students in these courses, staying in close contact with the students and their externship supervisors to help them develop their legal skills and to provide a framework for reflection and insight into the legal profession and professional possibilities.

Summer Experiential Opportunities

During the summer, Washington University Law offers a variety of intensive local, national, and international externships.  Summer clinical course offerings include the Judicial Clerkship Externship and the Lawyering Practice Externship (LPE).  In the summer LPE, students either may seek placements in the regular offices the that the LPE utilize by during the regular academic year or in similar placements in other locations in the United States and abroad. 

Other summer opportunities include Africa and Asia Externships and the American Indian Law Externship.  Students may elect to participate in these opportunities in one of two ways: as externships taken for credit through the Lawyering Practice Externship or as non-credit granting internships funded through the public interest stipend program or other stipend fellowship programs.

Listed below are clinical courses available to all law students at Washington University Law:

For more information on the public interest stipend program, please contact Carol Vizzier at cvizzier@wulaw.wustl.edu