The School of Law offers ten clinical programs. The Childrens Rights Clinic and Criminal Defense Clinic are available in the fall semester, spring semester, and summer session. The Capital Punishment, Domestic Violence, Elderlaw, Immigration, Juvenile Justice, and Mediation Clinics operate during the fall and spring semesters. The Mental Health Clinic and Housing Law Clinic are available in the spring semester only.
Capital Punishment Clinic. The Capital Punishment Clinic gives law students practical experience in capital litigation. Students are supervised by attorneys who represent indigent inmates on Texas' death row. Students review transcripts; interview clients; interview other potential witnesses, including jurors; identify and obtain social history records; and undertake other kinds of legal research and writing.
Students who take part in the clinic register for Law 278R, which focuses on the intricate doctrines that have developed since the Supreme Court "constitutionalized" capital punishment law. The clinic and other coursework expose students to both the theoretical and the practical sides of death penalty law.
Children's Rights Clinic. Texas law requires an attorney ad litem to be appointed to represent children in all cases in which the state or an authorized agency intervenes in an existing family unit. Most frequently this occurs in cases of alleged child abuse or neglect. Further, an attorney ad litem may be appointed for a child any time the court forms the opinion that the child's interest will not be fully represented by the attorneys for other parties to a lawsuit. These discretionary appointments are made in a variety of contexts, but especially in custody disputes between parents or other relatives. Finally, the legal status of all children in the custody of the state must be reviewed at least once every six months; local practice requires the appointment of an attorney ad litem in each review case.
The law school's Children's Rights Clinic (CRC) is appointed ad litem in most such cases in Travis County. Two full-time attorneys supervise students in the CRC; each student is assigned to several cases. In addition, a scheduled classroom component is designed to develop the substantive knowledge and procedural skills necessary for students to handle their caseloads.
Students who take part in the CRC in the fall or spring semester register for two sections of Law 397C; summer session participants register for Law 297C and 397C. All credit is awarded on the pass/fail basis. Students must have completed forty-three semester hours in law to be certified to appear in the trial court; there are no other prerequisites.
Criminal Defense Clinic. This program teaches students the tactics, skills, techniques, and values they need to represent those charged with violations of state law. The student handles cases at all stages of the criminal process from arrest to trial. Weekly readings and seminars complement the student's practical experiences. Clients are served from the Criminal Defense Clinic (CDC) offices at the School of Law.
Students who take part in this program in the fall or spring semester register for two sections of Law 397C; summer session participants register for Law 297C and 397C. All credit is awarded on the pass/fail basis. Students must have completed forty-three semester hours in law.
Domestic Violence Clinic. Students in this clinic represent victims of domestic violence in such areas as divorce, child custody and visitation, housing, consumer issues, public assistance, and procurement of complex protection orders. Classroom work introduces matters relevant to civil domestic violence cases: safety planning, intake, review of community resources, case logistics, and temporary orders. Case preparation and trial issues are also discussed. Students present their cases in class and discuss reforms that would help them provide stronger legal representation.
Students register for Law 397C and 397D. All credit is awarded on the pass/fail basis. Students must have completed forty-three semester hours in law.
Elderlaw Clinic. The Elderlaw Clinic is a general civil clinic and a joint project of the law school and Legal Aid of Central Texas. The common denominators among clients are indigence and age (over 55) or disability. The clinic, which is located at Legal Aid, gives ten students a semester the opportunity to represent clients in the following areas: guardianship; consumer contracts and fraud; probate and estate planning; financial and physical abuse of the elderly; real property transfer and title issues; landlord-tenant disputes; and federal benefits problems. Under the supervision of an attorney, clinic students are responsible for all phases of client representation, from interviewing prospective clients to investigating their cases, negotiating with opposing parties, and settling, mediating, or litigating client claims.
In addition to their clinical work, students meet once a week to discuss clinic cases, to study the laws affecting the elderly, and to practice the skills needed to represent their clients. Students register for Law 497C. All credit is awarded on the pass/fail basis. Students must have completed at least forty-three semester hours in law.
Housing Law Clinic. Students in the Housing Law Clinic represent low-income families with housing-related legal problems. The primary focus of the work is helping clients to avoid homelessness and to secure affordable housing. Thus, a good deal of the work requires representing clients in threatened evictions and in denials of public housing, subsidized housing, and Section 8 housing. Students also represent clients in other areas of landlord-tenant law.
In addition, there are opportunities for real estate-related work for individuals and with community-based nonprofit groups. Students may draft deeds, earnest money contracts, affidavits of heirship, and leases.
Most cases are completed during the semester, so that the student sees his or her case from beginning to end.
Students register for Law 497C. All credit is awarded on the pass/fail basis. Participants must have completed at least forty-three semester hours in law.
Immigration Law Clinic. Under the supervision of the clinical instructor, students in this clinic represent low-income immigrants in immigration proceedings. Students handle bond and deportation hearings, asylum applications, Violence against Women (VAWA cases), applications for discretionary relief, and other types of immigration cases. Students interview clients, develop case strategy, locate and prepare witnesses, and present cases before the immigration courts and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The clinic is housed at the Political Asylum Project of Austin (PAPA), 1716 East Sixth Street.
Students register for Law 397C and 397D, which focus on substantive immigration law, trial preparation, techniques and strategy, client interviewing, and discussion and review of ongoing cases. All credit is awarded on the pass/fail basis. Students must have completed forty-three semester hours in law; preference is given to those who have taken the immigration law course or seminar. Fluency in Spanish is preferred but not required.
Juvenile Justice Program. This clinic gives students litigation experience and an introduction to the juvenile justice system by placing them as interns with the local juvenile public defender. Clients are indigent juveniles, aged ten to seventeen, who are charged with criminal offenses ranging from Class B misdemeanors to first-degree felonies.
Students are assigned a caseload (four open cases at all times during the semester) for which they have primary responsibility under the supervision of an attorney in the public defender's office. They perform all investigation, interview, discovery, plea bargain, and litigation functions for these cases.
About ten to twelve hours a week are required for casework and for office duties in the defender's office. Academic background is provided by a class that meets daily for about three weeks at the beginning of the semester and two to three times a week thereafter.
Students register for Law 397C and 397D. All credit is awarded on the pass/fail basis. Students must have completed forty-three semester hours in law. Recommended background classes include criminal law and criminal procedure.
Mediation Clinic. In this clinic students mediate pending cases in the Justice of the Peace courts in Travis and surrounding counties. Through practical experience in the mediation process, students develop and refine the skills necessary for mediation and for problem solving in general.
To take part in the clinic, students must have completed Law 381S. During the clinic they take Law 397C. All credit is awarded on the pass/fail basis. Further academic background as well as skill enhancement is provided during the classroom component. Students are required to keep a journal and documentation of cases mediated.
Mental Health Clinic. Under faculty supervision, students in this clinic represent people confined in mental health facilities at civil commitment hearings before the Travis County Probate Court. Weekly class meetings are devoted to the substantive area of mental health law, instruction in trial advocacy, and case review. Several short written assignments are required, such as briefs and the preparation of cross examination.
Clinic students register for Law 397C and 397D on the pass/fail basis. Completion of at least forty-three semester hours in law, including Law 283, 383, or 483, is a prerequisite; preference is given to third-year students.
The University of Texas Law School Foundation was established in 1952 by Charles I. Francis, Sylvan Lang, Angus G. Wynne, Hines Baker, Dan Moody, Robert E. Hardwicke, and Hugh Lamar Stone. They foresaw that private support would be needed to supplement state funding if the law school were to achieve its potential. The foundations objective is to establish or assist in establishing chairs, professorships, and scholarships. The scholarship endowment now stands at more than $25 million; it provided more than $1.3 million in financial aid for 1999-2000. Over the years, the foundations role and significance have grown as its assets have increased. Today, the foundation maintains half of the endowments and privately-sponsored funds that support the law school. The law schools endowment is one of the largest in the nation.
Officers and trustees of the foundation are
Founded in 1939, The University of Texas Law Alumni Association operates under the nonprofit status of the Law School Foundation. The primary purposes of the association are to raise funds for the law school, to strengthen the relationship between the law school and its alumni, and to assist the dean, the faculty, and the staff in their efforts to make the School of Law the best public law school in the nation.
The University and the Law School Foundation have adopted as one of their major objectives the development of endowment funds to be used to attract and retain eminent scholars and teachers for the law school. The income from these funds is used to supplement the salaries of distinguished professors and to provide research assistance and other logistical support. Faculty members who hold endowed chairs, professorships, and research professorships are identified in chapter 6. A complete list of chairs, professorships, fellowships, scholarships, and other funds is given in the appendix.
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