Clinics and Externships
Gaining practical legal experience during law school is critical to the success of most law school graduates. The law school's popular clinics, externships and practice skills classes give students real-world experience with concepts learned in the classroom.
Our clinics introduce advanced students to actual clients and cases through the supervised practice of law.
Legislative Issues Workshop. Students are involved in research, bill tracking, report writing, committee presentation, and other tasks during the biennial sessions of the Oregon state legislature.
Civil Practice Clinic. Students represent low-income clients through Lane County Legal Aid. Cases may result in a court appearance or contested case hearing, often involving social security, welfare, food stamp, public housing, or unemployment benefits.
Criminal Defense Clinic. Students conduct client and witness interviews and investigations and help defend clients in a wide range of misdemeanor prosecutions in Oregon Circuit Court through Public Defender Services of Lane County.
Criminal Prosecution Clinic. Provides practical experience in the courtroom in one of the fast-paced district attorneys' offices in Oregon. Students prepare and try minor criminal cases and may assist on felony cases.
Domestic Violence Clinic. Students work with Lane County Domestic Violence Clinic attorneys and client advocates to represent victims of domestic violence and stalking in contested protective order hearings.
Environmental Law Clinic. Working with the Western Environmental Law Center, students are advancing theories never before litigated in any American court. The emphasis is on intellectually challenging and creative work.
Mediation Clinic. After mediation training, students spend one morning each week working in a local small claims court, helping disputants to search for nonlitigation solutions to their problems.
NonProfit Clinic. The clinic is an interdisciplinary learning opportunity for students in the UO's School of Law, Department of Planning, Public Policy & Management and the Master's Degree Program in Conflict and Dispute Resolution. Students conduct governance and management assessments for nonprofit clients, under the supervision of experienced practitioners with backgrounds in law, dispute resolution, and nonprofit management. Through these assessments, nonprofits benefit from gaining a deeper understanding of the importance of strong governance practices, which in turn enables them to strengthen their programs and services to the community.
Small Business Clinic provides third-year law students with the opportunity to work with clients under the direct supervision of a practicing Oregon attorney. Clients of the Small Business Clinic can expect to receive top-quality legal services in an educational environment designed to provide students with the skills necessary to excel in the practice of law.
The Environmental Law Clinic is open to some second-year students. All other clinics are open to third-year students only. Students apply and interview to participate in the Small Business Clinic. For all other clinics, every qualified student who applies has an equal chance to participate through a lottery during the spring of second year.
Externships are another means to develop professional lawyering skills. Depending on background and experience, students may be able to do externships beginning the summer following their first year of law school. Externships at Oregon include:
Judicial Externships. Externs work for US District Court judges and federal appellate courts as well as with US Bankruptcy Court and Immigration Court judges. Externs may also work with state appellate judges, the Oregon Tax Court, and with state trial court judges, including a state probate judge. Externships with federal judges and with state appellate courts give students the opportunity to develop legal analysis, research and writing skills. Judges–but particularly state trial court judges– may include students in all aspects of their work, from settlement conferences and trials to discussions in chambers.
Environmental Law Externships. Students interested in environmental law have the opportunity to externs with government agencies and non-profit organizations, including, among others, the US Department of Interior's Office of Solicitor in Portland and with the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide in Eugene.
In-House Counsel Externships. Through this program students have the opportunity to work full-time or part-time during the summer or part-time during the academic year with in-house counsel in Portland area corporations. These have included opportunities with NIKE, Kindercare, Fred Meyer, Mentor Graphics, and others.
Tax Externships. Another business-related skill program is the Tax Externship. Through this program students have worked full or part-time during the summer with the Internal Revenue Service's Office of District Counsel, doing research and writing relating to tax and tax litigation.
Other Externships Opportunities. Students have on occasion worked with a faculty member to develop a proposal to faculty to allow them to do an externship tailored to their specific law school plans. Proposals of this nature have been the exception rather than the rule, but in some cases have provided students with a skills-development opportunity that they otherwise would not have gotten through work or school.
PRACTICE SKILLS CLASSES
Practice skill classes also give students real-world experience with concepts learned in the classroom.
Courses such as Trial Practice offer structured role-playing exercises that develop professional lawyering skills. Other classes of this type include Litigation Practice and Procedure (complex litigation), Arbitration (labor law), Advanced Torts (Work on a tort case from A to Z), Advanced Contracts (Draft contracts or parts of contracts and discuss with attorneys who work in these areas), Legislative Issues Workshop (Research and writing and related work as an intern to a legislator or to legal counsel or to a policy advisor to the governor), Business Planning, Estate Planning Seminar, among others. And, increasingly, faculty have included practical exercises in their courses.