Clinics and Externships

Overview

Put your education to work

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. We guarantee a clinical course for 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.

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.

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.

Clinics

Real-world experience steps from your classroom

There are many opportunities to apply classroom lessons to solving real-world legal problems. Six on-campus law clinics 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.

Available Clinics

Civil Justice Clinic


The Civil Justice Clinic consists of 12 projects: Employment Law, Health Law, Family Law, Immigration Law, Prisoner Reentry, Education Law, Juvenile Justice, Death Penalty Abolition, Constitutional Law, Policy Advocacy, Community Lawyering and Veterans Advocacy. You will get to engage in both direct client advocacy and policy work.

Defense Appellate


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.

Tax Clinic


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.

Advanced Clinic


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.

Evening Clinic: Veteran’s Law Project


Taught by the attorneys from the Connecticut Veteran’s Law 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.

Evening Clinic: Legal Ethics Project


You can become expert in the Rules of Professional Conduct and help to protect the integrity of the legal profession itself by handing cases of grievances against lawyers. This clinic is specifically designed to meet the needs of our part-time students, but anyone can enroll.

Answering the call

Brad Davis JD '17 completed an externship with Sikorsky Aircraft. "At Sikorsky, I researched regulations surrounding the export of Black Hawk helicopters. I was thrown right into the thick of things. For me, that’s the best way to learn."

Student Spotlight: Brad Davis, JD '17

From serving the country to serving the community

Marine veteran Brad Davis JD ’17 has been on a mission at the law school. He’s taken 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 new 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 has proven so popular among students and valuable among clients that beginning next year, it will become 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.”

“At Sikorsky, I researched regulations surrounding the export of Black Hawk helicopters. I was thrown right into the thick of things. For me, that’s the best way to learn.”
Brad Davis JD ’17

Externships

Making the connections between theory and practice

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 16 externship courses available — offering more than 300 possible placements each year with lawyers, judges and mediators.

The externship courses are organized into two groups: either by type of placement (where the subject matter may be varied) or by the subject matter of the fieldwork (in one of several practice settings). This allows students to individualize how they choose to highlight their field work on their transcripts and resumes.

Externships by Type

Corporate Counsel


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.

Field Placement II


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.

Judicial


The responsibilities that judges assume when they take their oaths of office are both great and nuanced. In this externship, you'll work alongside state and federal judges at the trial and appellate levels on civil or criminal assignments, or in areas such as family, juvenile or housing law. 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.

Legal Services


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.

Legislative


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.

Mediation


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 consumer disputes and community-based disputes by mediating with both lawyer and non-lawyer mediators in court-based and community mediation settings.

Public Interest


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 elder law, disabilities, labor law, consumer or health law, and employment law.

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