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Clinics

We are currently accepting clinic applications for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 placements. For more information on how to apply, please see Clinic Application Process listed below.

Click here for a clinic comparison chart.

Offerings

Criminal Law Defense Practicum

Students in the Criminal Law Defense Practicum work as student defense attorneys at the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) within the Hampden County District Courts. By court rule, students in the Pracum are authorized to practice in any District Court case, which includes a mix of both misdemeanors and felonies. Typical of the offenses litigated by students in the District Court are possession and/or distribution of controlled substances, assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, violation of a restraining order, larceny, assault and battery on a police officer, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. During the course of the semester, a student attorney will appear in three different sessions of the District Court: the arraignment session (in which students represent indigent defendants in bail hearings), the motion session (in which students prepare and litigate motions to suppress and motions to dismiss) and, ultimately, the trial session (in which students prepare and litigate jury and jury-waived trials.) This clinic allows students to gain substantial exposure over the course of the semester to the entire process of litigating a criminal case. 

Clinic students are required to enroll in late afternoon or evening classes while participating in the clinic to minimize scheduling conflicts between classes and court. 

Seminar: In addition to the fieldwork as a student attorney at CPCS, there is a classroom component which operates as a combination seminar/simulation. This part of the course is quite intensive for the first three or four weeks of the semester as well as the week prior to the start of classes. Students must attend a two day orientation the week before classes begin, no exceptions will be made to this mandatory orientation. Following this initial training period, the class will meet at a designated time for a two-hour session on a weekly basis for the balance of the semester.

Prerequisites: To be eligible to enroll, a student must have completed his/her second full year of law study or third full year of part-time law study and must have successfully completed courses in Evidence and Criminal Procedure Investigation.

Conflict of Interest: Students may not have outside legal employment while they are participating in the Criminal Defense Practicum.  

Students Certified Under Rule 3:03: Criminal Clinic students are required to be certified to practice under the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Student Practice Rule 3:03. Please note that an amendment is sent to the S.J.C. upon completion of the clinical program and 3:03 certification is withdrawn at that time.

Semester Offered: Spring

Credits: 6-credits which includes Field Placement (4 credits) and Seminar (2 credits). Satisfies 6 experiential learning credits.

Grading: Pass/Fail

Restricted Withdrawal:  This clinic is considered a Restricted Withdrawal Course.  A student who withdraws from this clinic course 30 days prior to the start of the semester shall receive a “W” on their transcript.

Clinic Director: Tina Cafaro, Clinical Professor of Law for Criminal Defense Practicum and Criminal Prosecution Clinic

Criminal Law Prosecution Clinic

Students in the Criminal Law Prosecution Clinic work as student assistant district attorneys within the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office. By court rule, students in the Clinic are authorized to practice in any District Court case, which includes a mix of both misdemeanors and felonies. Typical of the offenses litigated by students in the District Court are possession and/or distribution of controlled substances, domestic violence offenses including assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and violation of a restraining order, larceny, assault and battery on a police officer, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. During the course of the semester, a student attorney will appear in three different sessions of the District Court: the arraignment session (in which students represent the Commonwealth in bail hearings), the motion session (in which students prepare and litigate oppositions to motions to suppress and motions to dismiss) and, ultimately, the trial session (in which a student prepare and litigate jury and jury-waived trials). This clinic allows students to gain substantial exposure over the course of the semester to the entire process of litigating a criminal case.

Seminar: In addition to the fieldwork as a student attorney within the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office, there is a classroom component which operates as a combination seminar/simulation. This part of the course is quite intensive for the first three or four weeks of the semester as well as the week prior to the start of classes. Students must attend a two day orientation the week before classes begin, no exceptions will be made to this mandatory orientation. Following this initial training period, the class will meet at a designated time for a two-hour session on a weekly basis for the balance of the semester.

Prerequisites: To be eligible to enroll, a student must have completed his/her second full year of law study or third full year of part-time law study and must have successfully completed courses in Evidence and Criminal Procedure Investigation.

Students Certified Under Rule 3:03: Criminal Clinic students are required to be certified to practice under the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Student Practice Rule 3:03. Please note that an amendment is sent to the S.J.C. upon completion of the clinical program and 3:03 certification is withdrawn at that time.

Semesters Offered: Fall

Credits: 6-credits which includes Seminar (2 credits) and Field Placement (4 credits).  Satisfies 6 experiential learning credits.

Grading: Letter Grade

Conflict of Interest:  Students may not have ANY outside legal employment while they are participating in the Criminal Clinic.

Restricted Withdrawal:  This clinic is considered a Restricted Withdrawal Course.  A student who withdraws from this clinic course 30 days prior to the start of the semester shall receive a “W” on their transcript.

Clinic Director: Tina Cafaro, Clinical Professor of Law for Criminal Prosecution Clinic and Criminal Defense Practicum

Elder Law Clinic

Elder Law ClinicStudents in the Elder Law Clinic will represent elders in a range of matters under the supervision of the clinic supervisor Beth Lovejoy.  Representation may include planning for incapacity with powers of attorney and heath care proxies, planning for the disposition of property at death via joint ownership, beneficiary designation, and simple wills, and planning for eligibility for public benefits for long-term care.  Students will gain experience in identifying the client and assessing client capacity, two areas of special importance in elder law.  Students will also gain experience in interviewing and counseling, drafting documents, memoranda and letters, and overseeing the valid execution of documents. Students will be expected to return prior to the start of the semester to participate in a two day clinic orientation. Students will be expected to commit to an average of 12 hours per week to their clinical work.

Seminar: Students enrolled in this clinic must also enroll in the one-credit concurrent seminar to be held following the clinic each week. The seminar will serve as a forum for reflection on the fieldwork component, case review, and other topics.

Prerequisite: The clinic is open to students who have successfully completed 28 hours of law studies.  Students must have completed or be currently enrolled in LAW 664 Elder Law.

Semesters Offered: Spring semester.

Credits: 4 credits which includes Field Placement (3 credits) and Seminar (1 credit). Satisfies 4 experiential learning credits.

Grading: Pass/Fail

Restricted Withdrawal:  This clinic is considered a Restricted Withdrawal Course.  A student who withdraws from this clinic course 30 days prior to the start of the semester shall receive a “W” on their transcript.

Clinic Director: Beth Lovejoy, Adjunct Professor

Family Law Mediation Clinic

The Family Mediation Clinic is a collaboration between Western New England School of Law, The Hampden Probate and Family Court and the Mediation and Training Collaborative (TMTC) of Greenfield in which accepted law students will co-mediate and participate in the mediation process at court-ordered mediation sessions.  The Hampden Probate and Family Court has been running a pilot mediation program with the help of TMTC, wherein one afternoon per week, TMTC mediators meet with clients (usually pro-se) who have been ordered by the court to attend one two-hour mediation session. The mediation sessions are free and conducted by mediators on the TMTC roster. Starting in the Spring of 2016, the mediations occurring during the course of the semester will be conducted by the clinic supervisor and co-mediated with clinic students.  Students will be involved in co-mediating cases at the courthouse, observing and reflecting on mediations, learning how to perform intakes and performing intakes in conjunction with TMTC.  The Clinic will be held on Wednesday afternoons each week at the Hampden Probate and Family Court. These afternoon courthouse sessions will be followed by a one-hour seminar class at the law school.

In-Court Mediation
Students in the Family Law Mediation Clinic will have the unique opportunity to directly participate in mediations that are referred to the clinic by the Hampden Probate and Family Court.  Students will also be involved in screening cases for domestic violence and appropriateness. Because of limitations and restrictions contained in the Supreme Judicial Court Rules on Alternative Dispute Resolution, all cases will be co-mediated with the class instructor.  For each mediation, one student will directly co-mediate while the other student will observe and be prepared to discuss observations in the seminar class following the mediation. In addition, students will participate in screening of cases referred by the court. Screening will occur in conjunction with The Mediation and Training Collaborative, the Clinic’s partner in this joint venture. Students will learn to balance the need to gather and process information with the time constraints of the court, which allots two hours per mediation. It is possible that clients may choose to continue with mediation beyond the initial session in which case the participating students will be asked to continue to mediate.

Seminar: Students enrolled in this clinic must also concurrently enroll in the one-credit seminar to be held each week at the Law School following mediation sessions on Wednesday. The clinic seminar will provide an overview of mediation practice including conciliation, case evaluation, and facilitative mediation, and will provide further exploration of issues covered in the prerequisite family law and mediation classes, including ethics, neutrality, privilege, mediator professionalism and confidentiality through discussion, role-plays, and contemplative writing.  Students will explore the efficacy of mediation versus litigation particularly in the context of cases that have already been filed in court and are referred to the clinic.  During the seminar, students will also reflect on their mediation experience and observations of other mediations and the court process. The seminar will include guest speakers and simulated exercises.

Prerequisites: The clinic is open to students who have successfully completed 28 hours of law studies.  Students must have completed or be currently enrolled in LAWS 728 Mediation.

Credits: 3-credits which includes Field Placement (2 credits) and Seminar (1 credit). Satisfies 3 experiential learning credits.

Grading: Pass/Fail

Semesters offered: Spring

Restricted Withdrawal:  This clinic is considered a Restricted Withdrawal Course.  A student who withdraws from this clinic course 30 days prior to the start of the semester shall receive a “W” on their transcript.

Clinic Director: Oran Kaufman, Adjunct Clinical Professor

Immigration Clinic

Immigration Clinic students spend sixteen hours a week the office of the Central West Justice Center (CWJC)(a subsidiary of Community Legal Aid), a private, non-profit organization that provides civil legal assistance to poor people and elders.  The Immigration Clinic allows students to learn about the real practice of law, while giving them the opportunity to engage in community service by providing essential legal services to those in need.   

Under the supervision of CWJC staff attorneys, students will work on humanitarian immigration cases, including applications for asylum for individuals fleeing persecution, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for abused, neglected, and abandoned children, relief under the Violence Against Women Act for survivors of domestic violence, and U visas for crime victims.  Students will interview clients and witnesses, prepare affidavits, assist in gathering documentary evidence, and research and write legal memoranda.  Students may also conduct intake interviews with clients at community clinics.  

A student is required to be SJC Rule 3:03 eligible. Spanish language fluency is a plus.

Students must enroll in a seminar concurrent with their first semester of field placement. The seminar will meet for 50 minutes each week during the semester, and will serve as a forum for reflection on the fieldwork component, case review, and other topics. During the second semester, students will continue to engage in guided reflection.

STUDENTS MUST BE AVAILABLE TO ATTEND AN INTENSIVE CLINIC ORIENTATION, WHICH MAY BE SCHEDULED PRIOR TO THE BEGINNING OF THE SEMESTER.

Prerequisites:  The clinic is open to students who have successfully completed 28 hours of law studies. Students must have successfully completed or be concurrently enrolled in evidence.  Students may not enroll in an externship while doing the clinic. 

Semesters Offered: Two Sequential Semesters

Credits:  First semester seminar is 1 credit (satisfies 1 experiential learning credits), and 4 credits for fieldwork each semester (satisfies 8 experiential learning credits). Total of 9 credits.

Spots available: 4

Grading:  Pass/Fail

Application Requirements:  Resume, Legal Services Clinic Application, Unofficial Transcript. Students apply through Symplicity.  

International Human Rights Clinic

Justice

Clinic students work collaboratively with domestic and international nongovernmental organizations, grass-roots organizations, solidarity networks, attorneys, stakeholders, and other institutions engaging in human rights work to advance political, economic, social, and cultural human rights across borders.


Seminar
The Clinic seminar will provide an overview of the theoretical underpinnings of human rights advocacy, including international legal research, policy analysis, persuasive legal drafting, effective oral advocacy, collaborative lawyering, media and legislative advocacy, investigation and report drafting, creative problem-solving and the development of cross-cultural lawyering competencies. Students will explore the efficacy of litigation, the contested terrain of cultural relativity in human rights norms, and the social, political and economic context that human rights advocates must navigate. The seminar will include guest speakers and simulated exercises.

Advocacy 
To integrate the underlying theoretical backdrop of emerging human rights norms with real life lawyering, students in the International Human Rights Clinic will directly participate in contemporary and compelling cases. Through their work on human rights projects, students will explore the relative merits and efficacy of various advocacy mechanisms in the context of real cases. Students will work collaboratively with domestic and international non-governmental organizations, grass-roots organizations, solidarity networks, attorneys, stakeholders, and other institutions engaging in human rights work, to advance political, economic, social and cultural human rights across borders.    

Credits: 6 credits which includes Field Placement (4 credits) and Seminar (2 credits).  Satisfies 6 experiential learning credits.    

Grading: Letter Grade

Prerequisites: The clinic is open to students who have successfully completed 28 hours of law studies.

Restricted Withdrawal:  This clinic is considered a Restricted Withdrawal Course.  A student who withdraws from this clinic course 30 days prior to the start of the semester shall receive a “W” on their transcript.

Clinic Director: Lauren Carasik, Associate Dean for Clinics and Clinical Professor of Law

Legal Services Clinic

Legal Services Clinic students are placed at Community Legal Aid (CLA), a private, non-profit organization that provides civil legal assistance to poor people and elders. While the Legal Services Clinic allows students to learn about the real practice of law, it also gives them the opportunity to engage in community service by providing essential legal services to those in need.

Types of Law Practiced at Community Legal Aid
• Housing Law
• Employment Law (primarily unemployment compensation)
• Benefits Unit (representing low income people in obtaining and maintaining eligibility for state and federal benefits.)
• Disability Law
• Elder Law
• Family Law (primarily assisting victims of domestic violence)
• Immigration Law

First Semester:
Students participating in the Legal Services Clinic must complete a lawyering skills seminar as a prerequisite to their semester of field placement. The skills seminar focuses on substantive law and issues related to poverty law practice, and developing basic lawyering skills, including professionalism and ethics, client interviewing, counseling, fact investigation, oral advocacy, negotiation and litigation skills.

Credits: 1st Semester Skills Seminar is 2-credits. Satisfies 2 experiential learning credits.

Second Semester:
Students commit a minimum of 16 hours per week on site in the Legal Services Unit at the offices of CLA during regularly scheduled hours for the fieldwork component. Placements will be in housing, family, immigration, foreclosure, unemployment, disability or benefits departments. Students will have primary professional responsibility for cases, which involves interviewing clients, identifying the legal issues in the case and working to resolve them. Students may have the opportunity to handle administrative hearings for SSI, unemployment, welfare cases, and court hearings for family, elder and housing cases. Students are required to be SJC Rule 3:03 eligible.

Seminar: Students must enroll in a seminar concurrent with their semester of field placement. The seminar will meet for approximately 14 hours during the semester, and will serve as a forum for reflection on the fieldwork component, case review, and other topics.

Credits: 5 credits which includes Field Placement (4 credits) and Concurrent Seminar (1 credit). Satisfies 5 experiential learning credits.

Prerequisites: The clinic is open to students who have successfully completed 28 hours of law studies and have successfully completed or are concurrently enrolled in evidence. Students may not enroll in an externship while doing the fieldwork component of the Legal Services Clinic during the 5 credit semester. A student may take an externship while enrolled in the first semester of the clinic when taking the Legal Services Prerequisite Skills Seminar.

Students Certified Under Rule 3:03Legal Services Clinic students are required to be certified to practice under the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Student Practice Rule 3:03. Please note that an amendment is sent to the S.J.C. upon completion of the clinical program and 3:03 certification is withdrawn at that time.

Grading:  Pass/Fail

Restricted Withdrawal:  This clinic is considered a Restricted Withdrawal Course.  A student who withdraws from this clinic course 30 days prior to the start of the semester shall receive a “W” on their transcript.

Clinic Director: Gordon Shaw, Adjunct Clinical Professor and Director of Client Access at Community Legal Aid

Real Estate Practicum

In the Real Estate Practicum, students experience the world of real estate practice and real estate practitioners and discuss and reflect on those experiences and observations in a weekly seminar, all with the goal of helping each student to prepare for the practice of law. To accomplish this goal and to provide this experience, the practicum has three required segments: an initial training, an externship and a seminar.

1) Initial Training: In preparation for the externships, the first two weeks of the semester involve hands-on training, homework and simulations in title examination and residential real estate closings.
2) Externships: The externship involves placements with real estate professionals and requires a commitment of 10 hours per week (two sessions of 5 hours). Externships are done as a two-person team. One member of the team is initially placed with a real estate attorney specializing in residential real estate, the other with an attorney at a title insurance company. Each team member works for six weeks with one attorney or the other and then switches right before spring break. In both placements, students will work on a variety of title, closing, contract and related problems and will observe the operation of a law office and the interaction with clients, staff and other real estate professionals (brokers, lenders, appraisers, surveyors). Most placements are in Springfield; there is also a paired placement in Connecticut (Windsor Locks and Hartford).
3) Seminar: The seminar component consists of a weekly 2-hour seminar meeting, with required readings and discussions frequently featuring presentations by experts in different aspects of real estate transactions. In some weeks, there will be individual or smaller-group meetings instead of the full-class seminar meetings.

Prerequisites: As prerequisites for the course, students must have taken 2 or more of the following courses: Conveyancing, Real Estate Finance, Real Estate Development, or Land Use Planning. A student must successfully complete 28 hours of law studies before enrollment in a clinic. A student may not simultaneously enroll in more than one clinic, more than one externship, or a clinic and an externship.

Semesters Offered: Spring

Credits: 4-credits which includes Seminar (2 credits) and Field Placement (2 credits).  This satisfies 4 experiential learning credits.

Grading: Pass/Fail

Restricted Withdrawal: This clinic is considered a Restricted Withdrawal Course.  A student who withdraws from this clinic course 30 days prior to the start of the semester shall receive a “W” on their transcript.

Clinic Director: Robert Statchen, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law for Real Estate Practicum and Small Business Clinic

Small Business Clinic

The Small Business Clinic provides legal services to local small businesses and microenterprises. The clients are generally businesses that would not have access to legal services due to limited resources. The businesses are usually owned by one or two individuals and have anywhere from zero to five employees. Students work on transactional legal matters that are typical in the start-up phase of a business. For example, students may assist the owners in determining whether they should operate as a sole proprietor, general partnership, limited liability company or corporation and provide appropriate documentation based on that decision (e.g., operating agreement, partnership agreement, or shareholder agreement). Clients also often have various employment issues including classifying individuals as employees or independent contractors, preparing an employee manual, and/or drafting an employment application. Students perform preliminary trademark availability searches, advise as to copyright protection for client work product, and draft non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements.  Students also assist in drafting a variety of contracts for the sale of goods and services. Additionally, students often perform regulatory analysis to determine if there are any licensing and/or permitting requirements for the client’s business. 

The goal of the clinic is to expose students to the methodology and mindset of business lawyering. Law students work with the entrepreneurs to identify the legal issues new businesses confront. They also develop important skills, including the ability to pinpoint key issues in an interview with a client. The clinic is part of a national trend to develop transactional educational opportunities to complement the traditional litigation-focused clinics that have long dominated clinical legal education. Students selected usually demonstrate a sincere desire to pursue a career in representing businesses and/or students who have an entrepreneurial spirit. Students interested in more detail on the issues faced by entrepreneurs, and therefore the issues dealt with in the Clinic, could read either of the following law review articles.  “Starting from Scratch:  A Lawyer’s Guide to Representing a Start-up Company,” 56 Ark. L. Rev. 773 (2004); “Braving the Waters:  A Guide for Tennessee’s Aspiring Entrepreneurs,” 8 Transactions: Tenn. J. Bus. L. 243 (Spring 2007).

The course will consist of two full days of orientation (prior to the first day of the semester), weekly seminar classroom meetings, weekly one-on-one meetings with the professor, meetings with clients (sometimes in the evenings) and participation in walk-in legal assistance. Part-time students are welcome to apply for the clinic and have successfully participated in the past.  However, part-time students need to be aware that there will be several times when they will need to make themselves available during the day for clinic activities (orientation, initial client interviews (at least three, 3-hour blocks), final client interviews (at least three, 2-hour blocks), weekly one-hour meetings, walk-in legal assistance, additional client meetings, and additional technology training).  The professor will work with part-time students who are employed full time to try and schedule some of these sessions in the evening, but there will be several instances where the clinician will need to be available during day-time hours.

In an effort to operate the clinic as close to an actual law firm as possible, students are required to maintain client billing records through use of the clinic’s time/document management software.  Client work will require a minimum of eighteen hours of work per week and other course commitments will require an additional four to five hours per week.

Seminar: In addition to the fieldwork, Small Business Clinic students attend a regularly scheduled weekly seminar meeting. Students are expected to attend two full days of a mandatory orientation prior to the start of the semester. The weekly seminar incorporates business and legal practitioners from the local area.

Prerequisites: The clinic is open to students who have successfully completed 28 hours of law studies. Business Organizations is the only prerequisite for the clinic, although other business courses are highly recommended.

Semesters Offered: Fall and Spring

Credits: 6-credits which includes Field Placement (4 credits) and Seminar (2 credits).  Satisfies 6 experiential learning credits.

Grading: Letter Grade

Restricted Withdrawal:  This clinic is considered a Restricted Withdrawal Course.  A student who withdraws from this clinic course 30 days prior to the start of the semester shall receive a “W” on their transcript.

Clinic Director: Assistant Clinical Professor of Law for Small Business Clinic and Real Estate Practicum

Clinic Application Process

 

Instructions

Download and complete an Application for each Clinic to which you are applying.

Criminal Prosecution Clinic

Criminal Defense Practicum

Elder Law Clinic Application

Family Law Mediation Clinic

Immigration Clinic

International Human Rights Clinic Application

Legal Services Clinic Application

Small Business Clinic Application

Real Estate Practicum Application

Apply to Clinics through Symplicity

  • To access Symplicity, go to https://law-wnec-csm.symplicity.com/students.
  • Enter the user name and password emailed to you by Career Services (If you do not have a password, please contact Marie Fletcher at mfletcher@law.wne.edu or 413-782-1469).
  • From your Symplicity home page, click on Documents tab and upload your resume, grade report, and completed clinic application.  Please note, you need to complete an application for each clinic to which you are applying. The clinic applications are listd above as well as in the Documents Library under Resources in Symplicity.   
  • Return to your Home page and click on the On/Off Campus Recruiting tab in the left-hand navigation. Once in on-campus interviews, use the drop down arrow under Sessions field and select clinic to which you are applying
  • Click Search button.
  • Click Apply Button.
  • You will be contacted by Marie Fletcher to select an interview time.
  • The deadline date to apply for a clinic is Wednesday, March 1, 2017.

  • If you need assistance using Symplicity, please contact Marie Fletcher at 413-782-1469 or mfletcher@law.wne.edu.

 

Important Dates and Selection Process

Advising Week: February 13 through February 17, 2017
Deadline to Apply to Clinics on Symplicity: March 1, 2017
Interview Week: March 6 through March 10, 2017
Decisions Posted on Registrar Bulletin Board: March 20, 2017
Students Accept or Decline Offers by March 24, 2017

Students should apply to all clinics they are interested in.
Students who are accepted for two or more clinics must choose one clinic. You may choose to be placed on the waitlist of another clinic for the alternate semester. Students may not withdraw their acceptance of a clinic to choose another clinic offering.

How Students are Selected for Clinics

3Ls who have not had a clinic will be given preference over any person who has had a clinic.
2Ls who have not had a clinic will be given preference over 3L's who have had a clinic.
3Ls who have had a clinic will be given preference over 2L's who have had a clinic.

Registration

Students must see Marie Fletcher, Clinic Administrator, to sign a Clinic Commitment Form, to formally accept their clinic spot.