The deadline for applications for in-house clinics for Fall 2021 is Wednesday, March 17, 2021, at 5:00 PM. See below for detailed descriptions of our in-house clinic opportunities.
Access to Justice Clinic
The Access to Justice Clinic focuses on the issue of how to expand legal help to the large numbers of people who are represented in matters of “basic need” – e.g., housing, family law, consumer problems, and more. In the seminar portion of the clinic, students will learn about the nature and scope of the civil “justice gap” and about steps being taken to address it, such as the creation of new rights to counsel; the involvement of non-lawyer professionals and volunteers; simplification of rules and procedures; creative uses of technology; court-based “help centers;” and more. In the project portion of the clinic, students will research one or more of these areas in greater depth, with the goal of identifying efforts currently being undertaken by courts and legal providers and developing proposals for further steps to be taken in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. The focus will be on systemic solutions to access-to-justice problems rather than on individual representation. Students will gain skills and experience in collaborating with lawyers concerned with expanding access to justice; in understanding how courts deal with unrepresented individuals, and how these individuals experience our judicial system; in identifying promising strategies for change; and in presenting research findings and proposals in written form. The Clinic is a 4-credit graded course and is taught by Prof. Len Rieser.
Community Lawyering Clinic
In the Community Lawyering Clinic and related Advanced Clinical Intensive, students are placed in the primary lawyer role for individuals in litigation and transactional matters. Our present client base includes people with severe illnesses, like cancer and HIV, and people with severe disabilities. Our most common representation is in administrative hearings in public benefits cases and with simple estate planning, like wills and living wills. Students work with clients both in the Temple Legal Aid Office and at community medical and social service centers throughout the city. In the fall semester, the class is paired with a serial writing class, Poverty Law (Law 1041), which allows students to learn about poverty law issues from a theoretical context while practicing poverty law in the clinic. Registration for Poverty Law is handled separately. The Community Lawyering Clinic is a 3-credit clinic taught by Prof. Spencer Rand. Students can add the advanced clinic for 3 graded credits, either in the same semester or in a later semester.
Elderly Law Project Clinic
Offered in the Spring semester only: The Elderly Law Project Clinic provides legal assistance and direct representation to Philadelphia residents who are 60 years and older. We focus upon public benefits, both income maintenance and health care entitlements helping the most vulnerable seniors in our community. We handle other civil areas of law like consumer matters, landlord/tenant problems, and estate planning just to name a few. In addition, we write Wills and Health Care directives for free. The goal of this in-house clinical is to assist seniors in as many areas as we can and to also get to know the aging network of providers so we can make appropriate referrals if we cannot assist directly. For Spring 2021 there are some necessary changes that will be taking place in the clinical program due to COVID-19. Clinical students will be working, along with Professor Kroll, to create the best forms of legal assistance possible for seniors during this difficult time. The Elderly Law Project Clinic is a 3-credit clinic taught by Prof. Debra Kroll.
Family Law Litigation Clinic
The Family Law Litigation Clinic provides direct legal representation to low-income litigants in child custody, child and spousal support, adoption and other family law matters. Under the supervision of the Clinical Professor, clinic students handle all aspects of clients’ cases, including intake interviews, case selection, development of case plans, drafting of pleadings, counseling of clients, negotiation with opposing counsel or parties, development of trial strategy, trial preparation and court appearances. The Family Law Litigation Clinic is ideal for students who are interested in gaining more direct individual client experience and in-court trial advocacy experience. The Family Law Litigation Clinic is a 4-credit clinic, consisting of a 2-credit pass/fail clinic and a 2-credit graded seminar, and is taught by Prof. Sarah Katz.
Federal Appellate Litigation Clinic
Students who participate in this Clinic will work on appeals pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, providing pro bono representation to appellants in immigration appeals, habeas corpus proceedings, prisoner litigation, or similar matters as appointed by the Court. The Federal Appellate Litigation Clinic has partnered with a Philadelphia-based law firm, The Tucker Law Group, which will supervise the appeals. Students will also work under the supervision of the Clinic professor. A team of two to three students will be assigned to each appeal. Only 3L and 4LE students are eligible to participate in the Clinic. The Federal Appellate Litigation Clinic is a 4-credit clinic, consisting of a 2-credit pass/fail clinic and a 2-credit graded seminar, and is taught by Prof. Mary Levy.
Low Income Taxpayer Clinic
The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) provides free legal representation to qualifying taxpayers who have federal tax controversies. Students and attorney volunteers, working under the supervision of the Professor Matthew T. James, represent low income taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Tax Court in audits, appeals, collections and federal tax litigation.
Students enrolled in the clinic benefit from class instruction (2 credits, graded) during which they learn substantive and procedural tax law, case management, and lawyering skills. Students also give presentations to community groups and nonprofit organizations to help taxpayers know their rights and responsibilities. Additionally, students may have an opportunity to participate in special projects such as filing amicus briefs or submitting comments on proposed regulation or other administrative guidance.
During the clinic portion of the course (2 credits, pass/fail), students serve as the primary advocates for their clients and have direct responsibility for their cases. Case work includes extensive client contact. Students will conduct factual investigations and research legal issues to develop, present, and argue cases on behalf of vulnerable taxpayers who would otherwise not have access to justice. The clinic experience teaches lawyering skills applicable across numerous practice areas. Student are encouraged to enroll whether they have an existing interest in tax or simply seek an immersive law practice experience. LITC students play a crucial role in ensuring a fair tax system for low income individuals and those with limited English proficiency who speak English as a second language. Students’ work is impactful and sometimes life changing.
Social Justice Lawyering Clinic
Offered in the Fall Semester only. In the Social Justice Lawyering Clinic, students engage in: (1) representing a low-wage worker in an employment case in state or federal court; and (2) collaborating with a community-based organization, legal nonprofit, or coalition on a systemic advocacy project. Such systemic advocacy projects might involve engaging in community education, authoring policy briefs and white papers, or participating in legislative advocacy. Most systemic advocacy projects have focused on immigrant and worker rights, although they can involve other economic justice and civil rights issues confronting underserved communities in Philadelphia. The Social Justice Lawyering Clinic provides students with the opportunity to engage in multifaceted lawyering required for today’s social justice lawyers. The Clinic is a 2-credit graded seminar plus a 4-credit pass/fail clinic, and is taught by Prof. Jennifer Lee.
Systemic Justice Clinic
In the Systemic Justice Clinic, students will work with community groups and public interest legal organizations on one of the most pressing concerns in civil rights today – that almost any interaction with the mechanisms of the criminal legal system can result in a lifelong deprivation of a person’s rights, and that these interactions and resultant deprivations fall disproportionately upon racial minorities and the poor. Projects will include policy campaigns and legislative advocacy around collateral consequences such as barriers to employment, education, housing, and public benefits; civil disabilities; and fines and fees associated with private contractors. Students may also have the opportunity to work on criminal justice reform, policing, and inmates’ rights issues, and to engage in community education projects. The Systemic Justice Clinic is a 2-credit graded seminar plus a 4 credit pass/fail clinic, and is taught by Prof. Shanda Sibley.