The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

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Clinical Education at UT Law

Real Cases. Real Experience.

Mental Health Clinic

Student Experience

“The Mental Health Clinic was one of the most rewarding experiences of my law school career. I was an avid mock trialer throughout law school, but being able to use my advocacy skills to represent clients in  probable cause and commitment hearings against seasoned prosecutors while still in school was exhilarating and extremely rewarding.  I joined the Mental Health Clinic with some reservation - I wasn't sure if I would feel comfortable representing people suffering from mental illness.  I wasn't sure if I would be able to communicate with them effectively and wasn't sure if they would even want my help.  What I quickly learned, however, was that the clients that we were working with were just that - clients. They generally had clear legal and personal goals and were extremely appreciative of our assistance in achieving those goals. Additionally, working with Professor Churgin was a pleasure - he made working in the Clinic very manageable and he is exceptionally knowledgeable about the mental health justice system.
“On another note, I participated in three clinics total while at UT Law - the Mediation Clinic, the Legislative Lawyering Clinic and the Mental Health Clinic. I truly believe that there is no better way to put your legal education and skills to the test than to work within one of the many outstanding clinics that UT Law had to offer. I only wish I had been able to participate in more of them!  Thank you for the experiences!”
—Tiffany Larsen, ’10

“I didn't win very many cases in the Mental Health Clinic, but I did have one electrifying lawyer moment. The doctor was about to introduce some inadmissible - and very damaging - hearsay, and I objected. The judge sustained my objection, took the case under advisement, and released my client the next week. But I was thrilled even before I knew the outcome; no matter what the judge decided, it would have been a different case if the hearsay had been admitted. It actually made a difference that I was there. I called my mom right away!”
—Mark Terrell, ’11