Clinics & Field Work
Through several outstanding programs—some curricular, some extracurricular, and some co-curricular— you will have the opportunity to work, argue, research, write, and practice, often while helping citizens in need. Our approach tightly integrates study, practice, and experience, and it develops great lawyers. With several new clinics launched recently and new externships being added in 2013, the choices are growing for each incoming class.
Appellate Advocacy Clinic
The Appellate Advocacy Clinic represents low-income clients in all sorts of appeals, both civil and criminal, and in a variety of appellate courts, including the Fourth Circuit and the Seventh Circuit. Working in pairs, students handle an actual appeal from start to finish, with advice and assistance from their professor, who is counsel of record. Students also travel to Washington, D.C., to observe arguments at the United States Supreme Court.
Child Advocacy Clinic
The Child Advocacy Clinic focuses on the representation of children in three settings: deciding the custody of children in high-conflict cases, deciding the custody of children in civil domestic violence actions, and representing children of indigent parents in issues involving the public school system. Students study the various models for representing children – as lawyer advocate, as lawyer guardian ad litem, and as non-lawyer guardian ad litem – and analyze the ethical issues raised in the various settings. Students also study the procedural and substantive law involved in deciding the custody issue in both the family law and the domestic violence settings and in representing children in the educational setting.
Community Law & Business Clinic
The Community Law & Business Clinic provides law and graduate business students with an opportunity to develop skills needed to practice in the increasingly complex legal and regulatory environment they will encounter as professionals. Operating from an office in downtown Winston Salem, the clinic provides a full range of legal services to entrepreneurs engaged in small business development and social enterprise. The clinic’s clients are directly involved in creating economic opportunity for local communities. Students are provided with an opportunity to work directly with clients as they conceive, form and launch new enterprises.
Elder Law Clinic
Responding to the rapid growth of elder law practice, the Elder Law Clinic provides a unique service that exposes students to both the legal issues and medical aspects of this growing practice area. The clinic provides free legal assistance to moderate income seniors, and serves as a resource center for lawyers and other professionals. Under the direction of the supervising attorney, students have the opportunity to receive direct experience advocating for and representing clients in a range of matters, including wills, guardianship, fraud, and other concerns.
Innocence & Justice Clinic
The Innocence & Justice Clinic provides students with the unique opportunity to learn about the various causes of wrongful convictions – mistaken eyewitness identification, invalid or improper forensic science evidence, jailhouse informants, false confessions, ineffective assistance of counsel, police and prosecutorial misconduct – while giving them the opportunity to apply this knowledge to the investigation of cases where newly discovered evidence can prove a client’s innocence. The seminar component of the course immerses students in the legal, scientific, cultural and psychological causes of wrongful convictions and the remedies and reforms adopted by states to reduce the potential for wrongful convictions.
The Litigation Clinic is our oldest and largest clinic, accommodating 25 students per semester. It began in 1981 as a legal services project. Today, it incorporates the full spectrum of the practice of law. Students are placed with supervising attorneys in offices large and small, public and private, in a wide range of practice areas. We believe we are the only clinic in the country that requires each student to have concurrent civil and criminal law placements. The idea is for students to confront not only issues of property and money but life and liberty, while rounding out a skill set that will serve both the student and their future clients well.
Program in Washington
The Program in Washington provides selected students with the opportunity to spend a semester in practice in the most diverse and vibrant legal environment in the world. The program includes both an externship component and a programmatic initiative that includes conferences, roundtables, symposia, and lectures. Students spend approximately 35 hours per week interning in a government agency or non-governmental organization. In addition, students attend a weekly class session, which explores issues common to the interns.