skip to content
UT Austin
Law Catalog 02-04


General Information


Academic Policies
and Procedures



The Faculty




1.  General Information



Clinical Education Programs

The School of Law offers nine clinical programs. The Mediation Clinic and Criminal Defense Clinic are available in the fall semester, spring semester, and summer session. The Capital Punishment, Children's Rights, Domestic Violence, 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.

In addition to Law 497C, students 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. When litigation is pending, the legal status of all children in the custody of the state must be reviewed until a final decision is rendered. 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.

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. 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. Clinic students, supervised by skilled practitioners, represent indigent misdemeanor defendants in Travis County. Typical offenses include DWI, theft, drug possession, assault, and prostitution. Students function as the "first chair" attorney; supervisors guide them and sit "second chair" during court proceedings. Students arrange jail release, interview clients and witnesses, litigate pretrial issues, negotiate with prosecutors, and try cases before judges and juries. For appeals, students review transcripts, write briefs, and present oral arguments.

The classroom component emphasizes the fundamentals of criminal defense. The simulation component emphasizes negotiation and trial skills. In the fall and spring semesters, students register for Law 397C and Law 397D; in the summer session, they register for Law 297C and 297D. All credit is awarded on the pass/fail basis. Participants must have completed forty-three semester hours in law and may not be on scholastic probation.

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.

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, including the Fair Housing Act.

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. Clinic students represent low-income immigrants before the immigration courts and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), including bond and deportation hearings, asylum applications, Violence Against Women Act cases), and applications for discretionary relief. Students interview clients, develop case strategy, prepare witnesses, and present cases before the court and the agency.

Classes are held twice a week for approximately the first two months of the semester and then once a week for the remainder of the term. Classroom lectures and discussion focus on substantive immigration law, client interviewing, trial preparation and strategy, and review of ongoing cases. In addition to the classroom component, students spend ten to twelve hours a week on clinic work, including four office hours a week at the clinic. Students must travel to San Antonio for an initial INS and court tour and for all court hearings and INS interviews.

Because many of the clinic's clients are Spanish-speaking, fluency in Spanish is preferred but not required. Volunteer interpreters are available for non-Spanish-speaking students.

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. Preference is given to students who have taken an immigration law course or who have other immigration experience.

Juvenile Justice Program. This program gives students litigation experience and exposure to the juvenile justice system by placing them as student attorneys with the Travis County 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 twelve to fourteen hours a week are required for casework and for the classroom component. Academic background is provided by a class that meets daily for about three weeks at the beginning of the semester and once or twice 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 497C. 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.

Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution

Since 1993, the Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution has advanced the appropriate use of alternative dispute resolution processes (ADR) by Texas governmental entities and provided ADR education and research to the University community and the citizens of Texas. Law students play a major role in the center's work through internships.

To accomplish its mission, the center staff provides advice and ADR services to government entities and administers a statewide clearning house for information about ADR methods and public policy dispute resolution.

In its consultative capacity, the center helps government clients design, implement, administer, and evaluate ADR processes. Clients include Texas state agencies, state courts, local and regional governments, and the University community. As a result of the center's work, ADR processes such as mediation, arbitration, mini-trials, cooperative problem solving, and negotiated rule making increasingly are used to help disputants reach satisfactory results without litigation.

The center also serves as a resource for information about ADR. Members of the center's Fellows Program, attorneys, ADR practitioners, public policy leaders, and academics provide research and technical assistance. Throughtout the year, the center also provides training seminars taught by experts in the field of alternative dispute resolution.

The center offers the master's and doctoral portfolio programs in dispute resolution to both law and graduate students. This interdisciplinary program synthesizes theory with the practical application of ADR. Information about portfolio programs is given in the section "Master's and Doctoral Portfolio Programs."

The University of Texas Law School Foundation

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 $2 million in financial aid for 2000-2001. 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

Harry M. Reasoner, President
David J. Beck, Vice President
Linda L. Addison
Morris Atlas, Life Member
E. William Barnett, Life Member
Ruben R. Cardenas
John R. Castle Jr.
George C. Chapman
James Derrick
J. Chrys Dougherty
Rodney Ellis
John L. Estes
Kay Bailey Hutchison
  Joseph D. Jamail Jr., Life Member
Franklin Jones Jr.
Dee J. Kelly
Thomas G. Loeffler
Gilbert I. Low
Wales H. Madden Jr., Senior Trustee
J. Mark McLaughlin, Life Member
Jon P. Newton
Tom B. Ramey Jr., Senior Trustee
C. Kenneth Roberts, Life Member
Larry E. Temple
J. Burleson Smith, Senior Trustee

The University of Texas Law Alumni Association

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.

Top of File     

Previous File in Chapter 1 | Next File in Chapter 1



Law School Catalog
Chapter 1 - General Information
Chapter 2 - Admission
Chapter 3 - Academic Policies and Procedures
Chapter 4 - Degrees
Chapter 5 - Courses
Chapter 6 - The Faculty
Appendix - Endowments

Related Information
Course Schedules
Academic Calendars
Office of Admissions

Office of the Registrar
University of Texas at Austin

28 January 2002. Registrar's Web Team

Send comments to