Quinnipiac University

School of Law Clinics and Externships

Our School of Law provides a dynamic, hands-on and personalized education that emphasizes personal and professional development. Our clinics and externships are an integral part of this approach, offering a variety of opportunities for engaged learning.

To be a good lawyer takes practice

We guarantee a clinic or externship experience to every student; most students take more than one, either to sample more than one area of law or to go even deeper in a preferred subject.

Connecticut's liberal student-practice rule allows you to start gaining practical experience after your first year. Whether your legal interests lie in health law, tax, sports and entertainment law, environmental law, family law or a number of other specialties, we have a clinic or an externship to meet your interests and goals to set you on the path for a successful career.

Our clinics and externships provide students with key educational opportunities. Among them: the opportunity to become knowledgeable about legal doctrine as it operates in practice; to understand the rules of professional responsibility; to develop interviewing, counseling, fact gathering, strategic decision-making, negotiation and oral advocacy skills; to sharpen research and writing skills; to gain experience in legal and factual analysis; and to hone the habits of reflective practice.

Clinics

There are many opportunities to apply classroom lessons to solving real-world legal problems. Six on-campus law clinics, covering 19 different subject areas, combine casework with a classroom component, award between two and eight credits to fit students’ schedules, and are supervised by full-time faculty and dedicated practitioners.

Some clinic students represent prisoners appealing convictions for non-capital offenses; some advocate for civil rights at the state legislature; some investigate when a grievance has been filed against a lawyer. Others work in our tax clinic providing no-cost legal services to local, low-income clients. All students serve clients and the public interest while learning how to practice law in a setting that is designed for them to take on maximum responsibility for their clients.

Clinic offerings

  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Defense Appellate Practice
  • Criminal Prosecution Appellate Practice
  • Employment Law
  • Family Law
  • Human Trafficking Prevention Project
  • Immigrant’s Rights Policy
  • Immigration and Refugee Law
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Meditation
  • Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Negotiation
  • Prisoner Reentry
  • Prisoners’ Rights
  • Tax
  • Transgender Rights
  • Veterans Advocacy
  • Veterans Benefits and Status Law
  • Women’s Rights

Civil Justice Clinic

The Civil Justice Clinic consists of 15 of the 19 subject areas: Constitutional Law, Employment Law, Family Law, Human Trafficking Prevention Project, Immigrants’ Rights Policy, Immigration and Refugee Law, Juvenile Justice, Mediation, Medical-Legal Partnership, Prisoner Reentry, Prisoners’ Rights, Transgender Rights, Veterans Advocacy, Veterans Benefits and Status Law, Women’s Rights. You will get to engage in both direct client advocacy and policy work.

Under the supervision of an attorney with the Chief Public Defender's office, you will represent incarcerated, indigent criminal defendants appealing convictions for non-capital offenses.

You will be assigned a criminal appeal pending before the Connecticut Appellate Court. This clinic involves researching and writing the state's brief, and arguing your assigned case before the Appellate Court. You may also attend oral arguments in the Supreme Courts, and may observe trials and other proceedings as time permits.

In this clinic, you will represent low- and moderate-income individuals in administrative and court proceedings with the Internal Revenue Service at the audit, appeals and collection levels.

Taught by the attorneys from the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, in this clinic, you will represent veterans in their cases for veteran’s benefits and for changes in their discharge status. You can be either full-time or part-time; the scheduling has been modified to meet the needs of students who cannot take a clinic or externship during regular business hours.

In the advanced clinic, faculty invite a small number of students from the civil justice and tax clinics to return for a second semester, during which they assume greater responsibility for casework and build upon the skills they developed during their first semester of clinic practice.

Student Spotlight

Law student Brad Davis poses in front of a helicopter sculpture at Sikorsky Aircraft
From serving the country to serving the community

Brad Davis JD '17

Marine veteran Brad Davis JD ’17 took classes on national security law and federal criminal law, talked with lawyers about the burgeoning legal field of cyber security, led the school’s Military Law Society, externed with Sikorsky Aircraft and interned with the U.S. Attorney's Office — all to prepare for a career that will allow him to continue to serve.

His most direct contribution as a student, though, may have been spearheading the effort to create a Veterans Legal Clinic at the law school. Designed to offer pro-bono assistance to military veterans with cases in front of the discharge review board or legal issues surrounding Veterans Affairs benefits, the semester-long experiment proved so popular among students and valuable among clients that it became a year-long program.

“The work in the clinic has given me great exposure to administrative law,” Davis said. “But the real takeaway for me is how rewarding it is to find success for people who have served our country.”

Externships

Our dynamic externship model emphasizes close, collaborative relationships among students, faculty supervisors and your real-world field supervisors. You'll analyze and reflect on your field experiences throughout the semester in on-campus seminar classes and tutorials.

We have 18 areas of focus for externships available — offering more than 350 possible placements each year with lawyers, judges, legislators, policy-makers and mediators.

This externship gives students the opportunity to apply their studies in business and commercial law in the real world. The course places you in a private law firm, where you may work on either transactional or litigation matters for business clients in a variety of law types.

The corporate counsel externship places you at area corporations and membership organizations where you'll work in substantive areas ranging from: intellectual property and licensing to products liability law; employment and disabilities to public utilities law; tax and securities to environmental law; and franchising and leasing to zoning law.

This externship pairs you with either prosecutors or public defenders in the state and federal criminal justice systems. Depending on your placement track, your duties may include client interviews; fact investigations and legal research; conducting plea negotiations; making bond arrangements; working on plea agreements; and examining and cross-examining witnesses.

Employment and labor law is practiced in private firms, corporate offices, nonprofit entities, and government agencies at the state and federal level. In this externship, you may work on the behalf of employees or employers on discrimination claims, wage issues, unemployment matters, and labor contract negotiations and arbitrations.

This externship places you in a variety of settings, from government and non-profit agencies to private law firms and in-house corporate law departments. In this course, you may function in the role of watch-dog, or possibly as an adviser helping a corporate client operate responsibly. You’ll also have the opportunity to observe veteran environmental and energy lawyers in action up close.

In this externship, you'll assist clients dealing with some of the most personal and painful crises they may ever experience. You'll work in legal services and private law offices, paired with attorneys who represent low-income people in agencies on divorce, child custody, domestic violence, child support, and abuse and neglect cases, among many others.

You’ll experience health law from many perspectives, from medical malpractice and disability law to corporate law. Your placement options can include private law firms, legal aid agencies, corporate entities such as pharmaceutical companies, a hospital legal counsel offices, or government agencies that regulate health care and health care professionals.

In the immigration externship, students can experience immigration law in any one of several settings—the courts, immigration law firms, or nonprofits. This externship is designed to supplement the immigration opportunities in our clinic.

Depending on your interests, this externship can place you in either a private law firm that represents multiple private IP clients, or in an in-house corporate law department. On any given day, you may be performing traditional legal research, searching the internet for evidence of infringement, and learning how clients must act to protect their intellectual property rights.

This externship pairs you with lawyers who fight on behalf of low-income people individuals and families every day. You’ll assist with cases involving housing, benefits-access, employment discrimination, disability, family, special education and unemployment matters. Casework involves significant client contact and advocacy at judicial and/or administrative hearings, and often includes participating in "impact," or law reform, litigation.

This is a second or subsequent semester externship sequel for students who have completed one or more externship semesters and wish to continue their field experience. Students may be placed in an entirely different placement, or may stay on at a placement with a heightened responsibility or different types of projects.

As a legislative extern, you'll spend the spring semester working with legislative and executive branch lawyers in the State Capitol. There, you’ll conduct legal research, draft proposed litigation and attend committee hearings and legislative sessions. Depending on your placement, you’ll be assigned to either the judiciary committee and or the counsel to the majority and minority caucuses, or the governor's counsel or the attorney general’s office.

The responsibilities that judges assume when they take their oaths of office are both great and nuanced. In this externship, you'll work alongside federal or state judges at the trial level on civil, criminal or probate assignments. This experience can be a prelude to a judicial clerkship after graduation, or an insider's view of the court and the bench. You'll witness how the best lawyers advocate, as well as the process by which judges must decide, and you will hone your research and writing skills working on cases for your judge.

In the mediation externship, you’ll develop more than mediation and conflict resolution skills; you’ll observe and evaluate the performance of advocates through the neutral lens of a mediator. In this role, you’ll help resolve a range of disputes and community-based disputes by mediating with both lawyer and non-lawyer mediators with private mediators and in court-based and community mediation settings. This externship specifically supplements the Mediation Clinic by offering students access to other types of mediation settings.

Quinnipiac is ahead of the curve in externship teaching by permitting students to earn externship credits in private law firms. Whether in a large, small or solo practice setting; in general practice or a boutique firm, you are able to choose the type of law firm where you fit best in order to experience the private practice of law.

You can work in a probate court or in a law firm that handles cases in the probate area — elder law, trusts, estates, or guardianships. This externship is designed to permit students to go deep in one or more branches of probate law, which is an area of focus at Quinnipiac, with our Probate Law Journal.

The public interest externship pairs you with lawyers in government agencies at the municipal, state or federal level, as well as with nonprofit advocacy organizations, and other public interest organizations. Case types are numerous, and can involve many different types of law, such as elder, disabilities, labor, health, environmental and employment law.

This exciting externship places you in legal departments within the music, TV or film industry, as well as in private firms, entertainment agencies, or university sports compliance offices. Museums and sports team placements are all possible as well.

If tax law is your preferred subject area, our tax clinic represents just one of many resources we offer. In this externship, you’ll experience corporate tax law at play in corporate legal departments, nonprofits, or private practices. Placements are also available in federal government tax agencies, such as the Office of the Chief Counsel for the IRS.

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