Clinical Legal Education
Putting Theory into Practice
Clinical education is one of our instructional cornerstones. As a student here, you will have the opportunity to participate in a number of law clinics and externships that provide live client experiences and often include opportunities to appear in court.
Duquesne's Clinical Legal Education program is housed right on campus with nearly 4,000 square feet of functional space that includes lawyers' offices, student work stations, conference rooms and a small courtroom. This replication of a law office environment promotes respect for the practice of law and legitimizes law students to their clientele and the community. The location is ideal: two blocks from downtown Pittsburgh and the Allegheny County Courthouse, the Federal Courthouse, the department of Court Records, the Recorder of Deeds and hundreds of law firms.
The goals of the Clinical Legal Education Program are threefold:
- To serve the community by providing good counsel
- To train students in the actual practice of law
- To promote the rewards of public service
These rewards are often enduring, as students typically carry a passion for pro bono work in their legal careers.
PROVIDING ESSENTIAL LEGAL SERVICES
In keeping with Duquesn'es mission of service, law students work for credit within the community while receiving practical legal education. Clinical opportunities include:
Bill of Rights Clinic
Students have the opportunity to gain practical experience while working on civil rights claims with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, EEOC and NAACP.
Community Enterprise Clinic
Students' work for non-profit groups and organizations committed to assisting distressed communities through economic and community development.
Federal Practice Clinic
Students represent indigent inmates in federal prison and serve as pro bono counsel in civil rights matters.
Pro Se Motions Clinic
Students participate in the representation of clients through the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Pro Se Motions Project. Student attorneys assist indigent Family Court litigants in matters involving visitation, custody, and paternity.
Unemployment Compensation Clinic
Students assist low-income clients with unemployment compensation matters.
Urban Development Clinic
Students provide pro bono legal services to urban renewal organizations working in distressed communities.
Student attorneys represent veterans charged with felonies or misdemeanors in the Veterans Court of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.
The Clinical Legal Education program provides approximately 200 externship opportunities for credit. Students receive not only educational and practical legal experience, but also professional mentorship by Law School alumni and other supervising attorneys. Externship opportunities include:
Appellate and Trial Court Judicial Externship
Students work under the direction of a judge or justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Pennsylvania Superior Court, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County or U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Civil and Family Law Externship
Students work for KidsVoice and the Neighborhood Legal Services Association to gain experience in civil law matters including landlord-tenant, Social Security, disability, family law and unemployment compensation claims.
Criminal Defense and Prosecution Externship
Students working for the Allegheny County District Attorney or the Office of Conflicts Counsel assist with research and motions and appear in court.
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Externship
Students receive experience in environmental litigation while working in the DEP's Pittsburgh regional legal office.
Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office Externship
Students work in one or more divisions of the state Attorney General's Office; i.e., Criminal Law, Torts, Civil Rights and Consumer Protection.
United States Attorney Externship
Students work in the Appellate, Criminal and Civil sections of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.