Clinical Legal Education integrates theory and practice. Clinic students actively assume the role of practicing attorney engaging in and learning from lawyering activities. Students learn lawyering skills and immediately apply theories about lawyering as they plan for, engage in, and reflect upon their practice. In consultation with faculty members and experienced supervising attorneys, students bear primary responsibility for identifying issues, making decisions, and solving problems with their clients. In clinics, students work on policy, legislative, transactional, or litigation matters on behalf of individual or institutional clients.
Students assist early-stage life science startups in QB3, which is an incubator for startups developed from bioscience inventions at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and UCSF. Student work is supervised by lawyers at leading Silicon Valley and San Francisco law firms. Students prepare intellectual property “freedom-to-operate” analyses that help the startups focus their strategy and attract funding. Students develop and apply transactional lawyering skills such as transaction planning and management, client interviewing and counseling, navigating conflict of interest issues, and legal research.
Read more about the BioTech Startup Clinic.
Students represent individual clients on an entire case – from initial interview through final administrative hearing or court trial. Students have lead responsibility for cases in areas such as employment (workers suing for unpaid wages, unemployment insurance appeals, disability (individuals seeking social security disability benefits), or restoration of civil rights after a criminal conviction.
Read more about the Civil Justice Clinic- Individual Representation Clinic.
In this year-long, hands-on transactional clinic, students serve as legal counsel to Tenderloin neighborhood organizations on community development and housing-related projects, which vary from year to year. Past projects have included researching and writing community legal education manuals, assisting in the formation of new non-profit organizations, counseling neighborhood organizations and small businesses on operating matters, and providing non-litigation advocacy representation to grassroots coalitions and groups.
Read more about the Community Economic Development Clinic.
Students work with attorneys at Bay Area public interest organizations to collaborate with grassroots community groups pursuing systemic change across a broad spectrum of legal areas. Students engage in a range of persuasive strategies, including administrative advocacy, community legal education, legislative drafting and grassroots lobbying, and community organizing and mobilizing. In addition to refining their vision of the sort of social-change lawyer they aim to become, students develop skills in complex strategic planning, facilitation of community meetings, and presentations to public bodies.
Read more about the Community Group Advocacy Clinic.
Criminal Practice Clinic students work in selected Bay Area prosecutors' and public defenders' offices where, under careful supervision, they engage in client and witness interviews, case planning and investigation, plea negotiations, motion practice, and witness examinations during evidentiary hearings and trials.
Read more about the Criminal Practice Clinic.
Students in the Environmental Law Clinic are placed with nonprofit environmental groups and governmental agencies to gain hands-on experience in environmental practice. This experience includes legal research, drafting memoranda and briefs, working with experts from other fields, distilling complex scientific data, dealing with problems of proof, seeking or preventing regulatory approvals, and participating in the presentation of cases and arguments in court and before administrative agencies.
Read more about the Environmental Law Clinic.
Immigrants' Rights Clinic students work directly with clients facing immigration issues including defense against removal proceedings, seeking political asylum, and pursuing U.S. citizenship. Students may handle adversarial hearings before immigration judges and participate in policy reform projects on immigration and refugee issues.
Read more about the Immigrants' Rights Clinic.
Students in the Legislation Clinic learn about the role of lawyers in the legislative process by spending a semester in Sacramento, working for a legislative committee, a legislator, or another public entity involved with the legislative process. In the past, interns have been placed with such offices as the Governor's Legislative Affairs Secretary, the Office of the Legislative Counsel, the Assembly Committee on the Judiciary, and the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality. Interns can expect to be involved in every aspect of "working a bill" through the legislative process, from basic legal research and drafting to attending committee and floor sessions.
Read more about the Legislation Clinic.
Students in the Local Government Law Clinic work with the General Law Team of the San Francisco City Attorney's Office or at city attorney's offices in other Bay Area locations. Interns research and write on substantive issues that range from constitutional and statutory questions about the structure of state and local government, to public meeting and disclosure requirements, to delegation of authority among federal, state, and local governments. Interns may also draft ordinances and accompany city attorneys to public meetings and hearings.
Read more about the Local Government Law Clinic.
After extensive training, students mediate civil disputes in the San Francisco Small Claims Court and employment disputes referred by the City and County of San Francisco. Students also observe mediations with professional mediators. Students experience the role of a neutral in a dispute and learn how to foster a party-directed problem-solving process.
Read more about the Mediation Clinic.
The Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors Clinic provides students with an opportunity to learn lawyering skills in an interdisciplinary context, and, in particular, to observe the impact of law and policy on the health and clinical care of low-income seniors. A novel feature of this course is that students will be conducting direct services fieldwork at a UCSF medical facility and working directly with elderly patients and their physicians. This clinic will be of particular interest to students considering a career in health law, elder law, estate planning, or social justice lawyering.
Read more about the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic for Seniors.
Students work on projects that involve refugee and human rights issues and present a unique opportunity to develop a range of skills relevant to legal advocacy in these areas. In the refugee area, students may engage in the direct representation of asylum seekers or do policy or other high impact work, including the development of expert witness affidavits. Human rights work may involve fact-finding and report writing addressing conditions in refugee-sending countries, collaborative projects with other nongovernmental organizations, and work with in-country experts. Some projects may be undertaken in partnership with the law school’s Center for Gender and Refugee Studies (CGRS). CGRS is one of the nation's leading refugee advocacy organizations, engaging in research, national policy work, impact litigation, and other strategies in defense of asylum seekers.
Read more about the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic.
Under the close supervision of a practicing attorney, students work with start up companies, founders and entrepreneurs in the very early stages of business planning, including issues related to entity formation, intellectual property, contracts and employment. The weekly seminar addresses substantive business law and practice, transactional lawyering skills, client work and the professional role of the business lawyer. This course orients students to the expectations of a business law practice and students develop and apply transactional lawyering skills such as transaction planning and management, client interviewing and counseling, legal research, and contract and business document drafting. This Clinic will be of particular interest to students considering a career in corporate practice.
Read more about the Technology Startup Clinic.
The Workers' Rights Clinic provides free legal information and assistance to low-income workers with employment related issues. The Employment Law Center of the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco trains and supervises students who conduct client interviews and, after consultation with clinic coordinators, provide counseling, legal information, and referrals to low-income workers on a full range of employment-related problems.
Read more about the Workers' Rights Clinic.