Life-Changing Clinical Legal Education

The Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University's Tribone Center for Clinical Legal Education is comprised of community-focused clinics, externship opportunities, a pro bono program and fellowships.  Clinical education is one of the instructional cornerstones of the Duquesne Kline's Tribone Center for Clinical Legal Education.  All of these programs provide student attorneys with hands-on client experiences and often include opportunities to appear in court, while serving the public and earning credit.

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

Download our latest Clinic Newsletter (pdf).

How to Register for a Clinic or Program

  1. Read the Clinic Program Descriptions Booklet 2022-2023 (pdf).
  2. See attached chart for students' opportunities and requirements for clinics and programs.  Chart (pdf)
  3. If you have question(s) about a special clinic/program or general registration, please email S. Beth Licciardello so an appointment may be made for you with a professor.

Clinics and Programs

Students in the Family Law Clinic work under the supervision of a family law attorney to represent income-qualified clients with cases involving domestic abuse, divorce settlement, child support and child custody.

Students have opportunities to fully engage in client representation under Pennsylvania's student practice rules in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. The clinic provides live-client experiences and teaches students the skills of interviewing, counseling, negotiation, drafting pleadings and advocating before the court with a strong emphasis on ethical standards.

Two-Semester Graded Course

Credits: 6 (3 academic credits, 3 non-classroom credits)

Co-requisite:  Evidence

Enrollment: 8 Students

Clinic Hours to Be Completed: 270 Hours (minimum 10 hours per week)

Class Meeting Time: Wednesday - 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Class Location: Room 201, Tribone Building

Office Hours: Professor Norton: Wednesday and Friday 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. and By Appt. via Zoom or in-person, please request via e-mail.

Katherine L. W. Norton, Esq.
Supervising Attorney
Director of Clinical Legal Education and International Programs and Assistant Professor

The Federal Litigation Clinic focuses on the litigation of actual cases pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Many of the cases involve the representation of inmates in cases that the federal courts have identified as potentially meritorious. The representation is undertaken pursuant to the courts' student practice rules, with the consent of the clients and subject to the supervision of an experienced attorney.

Students who participate have a strong interest in constitutional law, criminal law, and federal civil and appellate procedure. The clinic involves an average workload of 10 hours per week but this may be concentrated into certain portions of the semester based on court deadlines.

Two-Semester Graded Course

Credits: 4 (2 academic credits, 2 non-classroom credits)

Co-requisite: Constitutional Law, Evidence

Enrollment: 6 Students

Clinic Hours to Be Completed: 93 Hours per semester

Class Meeting Time: Tuesday 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Class Location: Room 311, Hanley Hall

Office Hours:  By appointment

Adrian N. Roe, Esq.
Adjunct Clinical Professor, Supervising Attorney

Samuel H. Simon, Esq.
Adjunct Clinical Professor, Supervising Attorney

The Re-Entry Legal Services Clinic is a yearlong clinic that offers income-qualified clients legal assistance with gubernatorial pardons. Students participate in weekly seminars that address substantive and procedural law issues, then experience hands-on training in case intake and interviewing, client counseling, fact investigation, case analysis, mediation, negotiation, research and drafting of complaints and documents.

Students also assist individuals with the completion of the complex Pennsylvania Board of Pardons’ clemency application and compete filings with the Board. After the lengthy Board investigation process, students prepare clients who have been selected for public pardon hearings through mock hearings.

Two-Semester Graded Course

Credits: 6 (3 academic credits, 3 non-classroom credits)

Co-requisite: Constitutional Law, Evidence

Enrollment: 8 Students

Clinic Hours to Be Completed: 270 Hours (minimum 10 hours per week)

Class Meeting Time: Tuesday 4 - 5:45 p.m.

Class Location: Room 201, Tribone Building

Office Hours: Prof. Turahn Jenkins and Professor Carmen Robinson; Tues. 2:30 - 3:30pm and By Appt.

Turahn L. Jenkins, Esquire
Adjunct Clinical Professor, Supervising Attorney

Carmen L. Robinson, Esquire
Adjunct Clinical Professor, Supervising Attorney

This clinic focuses on assisting low-income clients with Pennsylvania unemployment compensation appeal matters. 

Students receive valuable hands-on training in:

  • Interviewing clients
  • Appearing before administrative judges
  • Applying the rules of evidence
  • Preparing cases
  • Drafting appellate briefs

All students represent multiple clients over the course of the clinic and, therefore, have expanded opportunities to develop and hone their trial advocacy skills. Students can take advantage of two supervising attorneys.

One-Semester Graded Course

3-6 Credits (classroom and non-classroom)

Enrollment: up to 8 students

Clinic Hours to Be Completed: Minimum of 10 Hours per Week

Class Meeting Time: Thursday, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Class Location: Room 311 - Hanley Hall

Michael D. Simon, Esq.
Adjunct Clinical Professor, Supervising Attorney
Office Hours: by Appt via Zoom

Justin T. Romano, Esq.
Adjunct Clinical Professor, Supervising Attorney

The Urban Development Practicum provides a broad range of legal services related to real estate and economic development in distressed communities in the region. Students in the practicum are gaining practical experience by working on both real and simulated projects and cases.

Services provided by student attorneys include general real estate matters, title searches, negotiation and drafting of development agreements, preparation of land use cases, appellate land use practice and attending and participating in public meetings and hearings. Some of the unique topics addressed through the work with clinic clients include conservation easements, land acquisition, zoning issues and “greening initiatives.” 

While providing pro bono legal assistance to neighborhood and regional urban renewal organizations, student lawyers are acquiring and sharpening fundamental lawyering skills critical to addressing community needs and professional responsibilities.

The Veterans Clinic provides assistance to veterans accepted into the Veterans Court of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. Eligible students are certified by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to appear in court.

The clinic trains law students in a holistic approach to the law focusing on the problem-solving philosophy and recidivism-reducing techniques. Many of the clients served suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries and other mental health disorders and/or addictions. The students prepare and present cases for disposition and stay in touch with the clients to ensure that the veterans are following court-ordered treatment plans offered as alternatives to incarceration.

The clinic uses a simulation, called “hearing voices training," to help students understand specific challenges faced by people with psychiatric disabilities. Students also visit the HOPE Pod in the Allegheny County Jail and the Veterans Service Unit located at State Correctional Institution, Pittsburgh, both of which prepare veterans to reenter the community. 

Two-Semester Graded Course

Credits: 6 Credits (3 classroom credits, 3 non-classroom credits)

Enrollment: 8 Students

Clinic Hours to Be Completed: 270 Hours (Minimum of 10 Hours per Week)

Class Meeting Time: Wednesday 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Class Location: Room 208, Tribone Building

Office Hours: Professors Kunz and Rago: Wednesday 2:00 - 4:00 p.m., By Appt.

Students must be available for court on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Daniel W. Kunz, Esq.
Adjunct Clinical Professor, Supervising Attorney

John T. Rago, Esq.
Associate Professor of Law, Directing Attorney 

This clinic focuses on assisting low-income clients with Wills, Living Wills, Advance Directives, Memoranda regarding Conduct of Funeral and Burial or Cremation and Healthcare and Financial Power of Attorneys. Students receive valuable hands-on training in:

  • Client intake
  • Interviewing clients
  • Preparing cases
  • Drafting Wills and Advance Health Care Directives
One-Semester Graded Course

3 Credits (classroom and non-classroom)

Enrollment: up to 8 students

Clinic Hours to Be Completed: Minimum of 10 Hours per Week

Class Meeting Time:  Friday - 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Class Location: Tribone Building Room 208

Office Hours: Tribone Room 308

Tuesdays - 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. or by Appointment

via Zoom or in-person, please request via e-mail:

Grace W. Orsatti, Esq.
Assistant Clinical Professor

The Youth Advocacy Clinic provides a unique opportunity for 2L & 3L students to represent children in both delinquency and education matters. Students will interview, advise, and represent clients from the inception of the case and, once-certified, be able to represent clients in court and administrative proceedings. In delinquency matters, the clinic will handle: traditional delinquency cases, juvenile record expungement matters, and Protection From Abuse matters in which minors are defendants. In education matters, the clinic will handle: both informal and formal school discipline matters and special education matters including, but not limited to: identification, evaluation, placement and discipline in the context of students with disabilities.

Both juvenile defense and education law are specialized areas of law, and students will be trained accordingly, with an intensive training period at the beginning of the school year and important trainings throughout the life of the clinic. Students will be the advocates for their clients, but the clinical professor will be present in the courtroom or hearing room at all times while the student is before a judicial or hearing officer.

The clinic will operate as a holistic representation model, with the overall goal of the representation being to meet as many of the client's needs as possible, not solely the single legal issue that brings them to the clinic. The clinic features an ongoing partnership with masters-level social work students from the University of Pittsburgh and doctorate-level school psychology students from Duquesne University's School of Education. Students from all disciplines will work in interdisciplinary teams on most cases in order to implement the holistic model. Students will be trained on the model and there will be ongoing assessment throughout the academic year to determine students' learning around the model.

The clinic seeks to keep minors in school and out of detention centers, juvenile justice placements and jail. To that end, the clinic engages in policy and advocacy work around issues pertinent to our clients' cases. When appropriate, the clinic performs community education workshops, attends community meetings, and meets with relevant stakeholders to determine ways to provide legal information. Students who take this clinic will be immersed in issues related to dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline.

Two-Semester Graded Course

Credits: 6 Credits (3 classroom credits, 3 non-classroom credits)

Enrollment: 16 Students

Clinic Hours to Be Completed: 270 Hours (Minimum of 10 Hours per Week)

Class Meeting Time: .Friday, 1:00 p..m. - 2:45 p.m.

Class Location:  Room 308, Hanley Hall

Office Hours:  Fridays - 12:00 - 1:00 p.m., Room 309, Tribone Building and other times by appointment via Zoom

Students should be available on court days (Mon, Tues., or Thurs.), to accompany clients, according to cases and class schedules

Kara L. Dempsey, Esq.
Adjunct Professor
Tribone Building, Office 309

Externship Opportunities

The externship program enhances our strong academic tradition by incorporating real-world experiential learning into the curriculum to cultivate skilled and knowledgeable students ready to join the workforce with the competencies, learning, and professionalism to excel.

In partnership with the legal community, this unique program helps develop the next generation of well-rounded lawyers.

If you are interested in incorporating externs from our dynamic student population into your practice, please contact the Tribone Center for Clinical Legal Education at lawclinic@duq.edu.

Students participating in an externship program earn up to 3 experiential learning credits during the fall and spring semesters.  Students may earn 1 to 6 credits during the summer semester.

Externships are unpaid.

Single Semester Externship Placements

The Duquesne Kline School of Law  Externship Programs offer one-semester and summer-session externship placements in county, state and federal judicial offices; and legal aid offices; and in private practice or in-house counsel settings. Available opportunities include:

  • Government externships
  • Judicial externships
  • Non-Profit externships
  • Private-Sector externships

Single Semester Externship Program Guidelines

  1. Students must meet with the externship and pro bono director prior to placement, even if the student initiates a placement.
  2. Placements are considered for second- and third-year law students (third-year and fourth-year part-time day and evening students) with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher.
  3. Placements may be approved for 3 credit hours, requiring 140 hours of service, approximately 10 hours per week for 13-14 weeks. Externships are available when classes are in session, including during the summer session, but externships approved for the summer months (June - August) are generally accelerated and require the student to complete the required hours in a shorter time period. 
  4. Students registered for externships during the summer session pay summer session tuition at the established per-credit rate. 
  5. Students may not participate in a clinic/program and an externship at the same time without prior approval from the Clinic Director and Externship Director.
  6. Seminar requirements - concurrent enrollment is required in a corresponding Judicial, Non-Profit, Private-Sector or Government Seminar. Students previously enrolled in an externship must take the advanced seminar designed for "repeaters." Seminar class time is not included in the 140 hours of service requirement. Seminars will meet 6 to 7 times during the semester (every other week.)
  7. Credits earned in general externships are classified as non-classroom credits. A student may complete a total of 18 non-classroom credits during his or her law school tenure.
  8. Reporting requirements include signed time sheets and journals. Students enter hours in 12Twenty under the hours tab, download pages for supervisor's signature, then upload the signed sheets under the documents tab on a bi-weekly basis.  
  9. Students will be notified of journal topics and due dates by the seminar professor.
  10. Mid-term and final evaluations will be completed by externship site supervisors. The mid-term evaluation is intended to encourage discussion between the extern and supervisor about the extern's direction and progress. The final evaluation is completed by the supervisor alone. 
    Students must complete student evaluations at the end of the externship. as well.  
  11. Externships are unpaid. 
  12. Stipends for living expenses may be available for summer public interest placements.

Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University works hard to help students find externship opportunities that are in line with their career goals regardless of geographic location. Duquesne Kline School of Law cannot guarantee placement, as most externship placements require application materials, conduct interviews, and conduct their operations in a manner that may not correspond with the academic calendar year. Duquesne Kline School of Law is committed to helping students prepare for the application and interview process. 

Yearlong Externship Programs

Yearlong externships feature on-site placement combined with classroom instruction and classroom credit.

The Criminal Prosecution Program provides students with an on-site externship at the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office and classroom instruction in criminal law. The weekly classroom seminar covers all facets of criminal law from a suspect's arrest through the trial and post-trial stages. Students rotate through the DA's office in accordance with the topics being covered in the classroom.

  • Yearlong Pass/Fail Course
  • Credits: 6 Credits (3 classroom credits, 3 non-classroom credits)
  • Prerequisite: Evidence
  • Enrollment: 8 Students
  • Clinic Hours to Be Completed: 270 Hours (Minimum of 10 Hours per Week)
  • Class Meeting Time: Thursday, 4 - 5:45 p.m.
  • Class Location:  Room 303, Tribone Building

Supervising Attorneys

Jennifer DiGiovanni, Esq.
The Hon. David L. Spurgeon

This yearlong externship program provides students with an opportunity to directly work with Neighborhood Legal Services. Students will develop an understanding of the legal and non-legal hurdles that older Pennsylvanians face in civil legal matters. By working directly with clients and attending a weekly seminar, students will be able to assist individuals on legal issues such as evictions, mortgage foreclosures, debt collections, tangle titles, and other elder law issues. Students have the opportunity to meet with clients, prepare and file legal documents, argue at hearings or other court proceedings, and provide legal advice. In addition, students will work with the supervising attorneys to develop additional resources, such as a pro se handbook for handling small estates or other informational legal materials, that would assist older individuals facing civil legal issues to provide guidance to clients through a holistic service model.

• Yearlong Pass/Fail Course
• Credits 6 Credits (3 classroom credits, 3 non-classroom credits)
• Enrollment 4 Students
• Clinic Hours to Be Completed 270 Hours (minimum of 10 hours per week)
• Class Meeting Time: Thursday, 4:00 - 5:45pm
• Class Location: Room 208, Tribone Building or at NLSA

Supervising Attorneys

Melissa R. Ruggiero, Esq.
Catherine T. Martin, Esq.

Students of the Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University have a special opportunity to work as externs or volunteers with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. 

The statewide program works to exonerate those who have been convicted of crimes they did not commit and to prevent the innocent from being convicted. 

Duquesne Kline School of Law students assist the project’s legal staff and volunteer attorneys to investigate innocence claims and pursue judicial appeals. During case work and accompanying course work, students gain skills in interviewing, investigation, and legal writing as well as an understanding of the uses of DNA and other scientific evidence and the state and federal rules governing admissibility. 

The initiative began from a single office in Philadelphia. With Pennsylvania now one of the top 10 states in total number of exonerations, the project expanded to Duquesne Kline School of Law’s Tribone Center for Clinical Legal Education. The project is based the first floor of the Tribone Building, within walking distance to the law school and both of Duquesne’s law libraries.  

Duquesne Kline School of Law students collaborate with the University of Pittsburgh Law students having an equal number of student externs working together each semester. 

Coursework

This clinical program offers students the unique opportunity to exercise their lawyering skills by reviewing and investigating actual claims of innocence on behalf of Pennsylvania inmates and, where appropriate, pursuing legal avenues for exoneration and release from prison. Each student will be assigned cases under the supervision of the director and managing attorney of the Project. In the course of investigating factual claims and researching legal issues, students will review criminal files, interact with investigators, communicate with other attorneys, interview the client and witnesses, gather documentation and prepare legal documents and legal memoranda. Although most claims will be resolved by written pleadings and briefs, any court appearances will also involve students. Each student will also review new applications of a valid and viable claim. As a consequence of this work, students will have many opportunities to develop and hone their lawyering skills in interviewing, fact investigation, factual and legal analysis, legal writing and problem-solving. The classroom component will cover topics including the definition of a claim of innocence, investigating and raising claims of innocence under Pennsylvania law, preservation of innocence claims for federal review, post-conviction discovery rules, state and federal post-conviction procedures and problems, investigative techniques and skills, the nature and uses of DNA and other scientific evidence and the state and federal rules governing admissibility of such evidence. As the semester progresses, students will explore the substantive and procedural issues in the context of the actual cases on which they are working as well as discuss the ethical issues common to these areas of practice.

Time Requirements

Students meet in room 310 in Hanley Hall on Friday mornings from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon each week. In addition to the two-hour weekly seminar, students are required to perform at least 10 hours per week at the Project office. Hours are tracked in the 12Twenty system and each Friday, students will submit weekly timesheets to the managing attorney documenting their hours. Over the course of the semester, this means that each student should log a total of 135 hours of practice or work time, not including the two-hour classroom presentations.

  • Yearlong Pass/Fail Course
  • Credits: 6 (3 classroom  credits, 3 non-classroom credits)
  • Enrollment: 12 Students Total as Externs (6 from Duquesne Kline and 6 from Pitt Law)
  • Clinic Hours to Be Completed: 270 Hours (Minimum of 10 Hours per Week)
  • Class Meeting Time:  Friday 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Class Location:  Room 310, Hanley Hall

Supervising Attorney

Elizabeth A. DeLosa, Esq.
Managing Attorney

This yearlong externship program is designed to provide students with an understanding of the process of criminal defense while offering practical, hands-on experiences with actual persons accused of a crime.

Students will learn the stages of a criminal case involving an adult, specifically, the impact that the criminal justice system has on the accused. This knowledge and exposure to real cases will allow students to interactively participate in the criminal courts with the prerogative of assisting clients and limiting potential consequences, both direct and collateral. To that end, students will have the unique opportunity to prepare, file and argue various motions, handle preliminary hearings before district justices and participate in diverse interactions in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.

  • Yearlong Pass /Fail Course
  • Credits: 6 Credits (3 classroom credits, 3 non-classroom credits)
  • Enrollment: 8 Students
  • Clinic Hours to Be Completed: 270 Hours (minimum of 10 hours per week)
  • Class Meeting Time: Thursday, 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.
  • Class Location: Room 201, Tribone Building

Supervising Attorneys

The Hon. Elliot C. Howsie
Stacey L. Steiner Esq.

Pro Bono Program

The pro bono program features an attorney/student matching program and direct work with public interest organizations.  

Recognition

Students who meet the non-mandatory 50-hour requirement will receive a Pro Bono Service Recognition Certificate. Students dedicated to further service will be honored based upon the total number of hours completed. Those completing 61-120 hours will receive a Pro Bono Service Honors Certificate and 120+ will receive a Pro Bono Exemplary Service Certificate. 

Opportunities

Pro Bono work may be done in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Erie, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland Counties, to name a few. In addition to these locations, individuals can seek approval and certification of hours worked on pro bono projects arranged by the student, subject to review by the Clinical Legal Education staff.

Several of the organizations and programs partnering with Duquesne Law through the Pro Bono Program include:

  • Allegheny County Bar Foundation & Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership Projects
  • Christian Legal Aid
  • Custody Conciliation Project
  • Immigrant Services and Connections (ISAC)
  • Landlord-Tenant Project
  • Pro Se Assistance Program

Legal Service Organizations

  • Allegheny County Office of Public Defender
  • Community Justice Project
  • Disability Rights Network
  • Education Law Center
  • Jewish Family & Children's Service
  • Westmoreland County Pro Bono Center 

Learn more about the Pro Bono Program:  Pro Bono Program Handbook (pdf) 

Clinical Education History

Our clinical education program started in 1995.  Originally named for a donor, the Hugo L. Black Law Clinic, in 2013 was renamed in honor of Thomas Tribone, Chief Executive Officer of Franklin Park Investments, a major donor.  Mr. Tribone, a 1985 graduate of  the Duquesne Kline School of Law and a 1981 graduate of the Donahue-Palumbo School of Business, emphasized the positive influence that the University has had on both he and his wife, Michele's families.

"Duquesne has had a significant impact on three generations of our family on both sides," said Tribone. "The law clinic combines education and public service in a way that was attractive to us, and when we realized the enthusiasm of everyone at Duquesne for this project, we decided to be part of it."

Additional funding for the Center for Clinical Legal Education was received and the center was upgraded in 2015. This was provided in part through a $500,000 grant from the state's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program and a $250,000 Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund grant from the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County.

Unique Location and Building Features

Students in front of the Tribone Center.Located in a three-story building at 912-914 Fifth Avenue, the Tribone Center for Clinical Legal Education is easily accessible to clients and provides much-needed services to residents of Pittsburgh and the region.

"Our clinic, just blocks away from the courthouses and public agencies downtown, opens up remarkable opportunities to help underserved clients and families while allowing Duquesne law students to tackle real-life legal problems that will give them unmatched experience," said President Gormley.

The center features:

  • Client meeting rooms

  • Conference rooms

  • Classrooms

  • Work rooms

  • Moot courtroom and technology lab

Contact Us

If you need to send us a fax, please fax: (412) 396-5287

Tribone Center for Clinical Legal Education