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Clinical Placement FAQ

Who is eligible to participate in the Clinical Placement Program (CPP)?

Second and third year students are eligible to participate. Some clinical placements require third year practice certification. Preference is generally given to third year students.

Why should I consider participating in the CPP?

The CPP offers students the opportunity to integrate legal theory with practical experience. Participation in the clinics affords students the opportunity to assume the role of a lawyer, work with clients, enhance substantive knowledge of specialized areas of the law, hone lawyering skills, explore professional responsibility issues, and gain a better understanding of legal institutions. By the semester’s end, students often have a greater sense of purpose and express far more confidence in their own abilities.

What are my choices?

The CPP offers students learning opportunities in the civil, criminal, judicial and legal business areas.

Can I have more than one clinical experience while I am in law school?

Yes. You may take a total of 12 clinic hours. These may be all CPP hours, all in-house clinic hours, or a combination of the two. (If you participate in the Washington Externship Program, you can take a total of 19 clinic hours, 13 in D.C. plus six additional placement or in-house clinic hours.) Both the CPP and the in-house clinics give preference to students who have not previously participated in their programs. However, a student who has participated in the CPP who applies to an in-house clinic, or vice versa, will be treated as a first-time applicant because students are encouraged to participate in both programs.

What are the benefits of each clinic type?

Students in the CPP have a wide choice of placements. They are likely to work on numerous substantive cases and explore a wide range of issues. In-house clinic students typically work on fewer cases in more depth and work very closely with other students and with a faculty member. Regardless of subject matter or clinic, students will gain similar benefits in professional development.

Where and with whom will I do my work?

Students in the CPP will work with lawyers and judges in their offices or chambers.

Is there faculty involvement?

A full-time faculty member directs the CPP. She also teaches one section of the program. The other sections are taught by adjunct faculty members who have experience and expertise in the particular substantive law area.

What is the application process?

Students must submit a written application and interview with the Director of the CPP. On the application, students identify the placements in which they have an interest. The Director assigns all students to placements. Once an assignment is made, the student will contact the field instructor (supervising lawyer or judge) and schedule an appointment to meet and discuss the placement. Applications are submitted in the spring for the fall semester and then again in the fall for the spring semester.

If I have previously done a particular placement, may I reapply to do the same placement a second time?

No.

How many students participate each semester?

In the fall, 32 students participate. They are divided into four sections: civil, criminal, judicial, and litigation. Eight students are assigned to each section. In the spring, there is also an in-house counsel section offered.

What are the CPP requirements?

Students work 16, 20, or 24 hours a week at their placement for five, six, or seven pass/fail credit hours, respectively. The majority of students will work two full days a week for 16 credit hours. In addition, students submit weekly journals and time sheets, attend a weekly seminar, and meet every other week individually or in small groups with the professor who teaches their seminar. There is both a written midterm and final performance evaluation completed by the placement field instructor. Students are also required to submit a final written evaluation of the CPP and their experiences.

Is the CPP offered in the summer?

The CPP is usually offered during the eight week summer session. Students work 32 hours a week for five pass/fail credits; otherwise the requirements are the same. A four-week summer CPP is also offered in London.