The Association of American Law Schools shares examples of innovative and outstanding programs to foster ideas and showcase the diverse approaches to legal education at AALS Member Schools. The programs below were previously featured on the AALS homepage. A list of recent programs can be found at the main Innovative and Outstanding Programs page.
AUWCL Launches New Initiative to Demystify Blockchain Technology
American University Washington College of Law has established a new initiative, the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Legal Issues Group, which seeks to demystify blockchain technology and its applications, especially its use in Bitcoin and other forms of virtual currency. The new initiative will focus on fostering and increasing students’ career opportunities through a deeper practical understanding of these transformative technologies and the legal issues involved. The group intends to host speaker events and a discussion series featuring students, faculty, staff, regulators, coders, entrepreneurs, and investors.
Arizona Law Establishes New Course about Negotiations in the Sports Industry
Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law has developed a new course, Negotiations and Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Sports Industry, for master’s degree students in the Sports Law and Business Program. The course educates students on the theory, strategy, and practice of negotiating, but also helps them understand how these skills can be transferred into any workplace environment and their personal lives. The capstone project has students breaking into groups to negotiate a sports league’s next collective bargaining agreement, and then reporting back to their classmates on their outcomes and reactions.
Baylor Law Develops Program That Teaches Lawyers How to Start Their Own Firm
Baylor University Law School has developed a new collaborative program, Legal Mapmaker, that addresses the access-to-justice problem for low- and middle-income Americans who have basic legal needs, but cannot afford the services of an attorney. Sponsored by every law school in the state of Texas, the program hosts a three-day series of workshops and seminars that instruct lawyers and recent law school graduates how to start their own law firm with overhead that is far less expensive than average. It aims to help entrepreneurial lawyers create firms that can offer legal services at affordable rates to traditionally undeserved communities.
BYU Law Accepts Cyber Pioneer Award for Innovative Legal Design Lab
Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School launched LawX, a legal design lab that aims to solve one legal challenge each fall semester using design thinking. Students identify and find the best solution to a social legal issue, whether it is a change in policy, process, or creation of a high-tech product. The first project from LawX was the development of SoloSuit – a free online tool to help Utah residents who cannot afford legal services to respond to debt collection lawsuits. LawX was the recipient of the 2018 Cyber Pioneer Award presented during the Utah iSymposium.
IP Law Clinic Working with Startup to Bring New Screening Technology to Market
Case Western Reserve University School of Law’s Intellectual Property Venture Clinic (IPVC) offers free legal and business expertise to student inventors and local startup companies as they enter the market. What makes the IPVC unique is the blend of business, intellectual property law, venture capitalization, and corporate counseling experience and training the clinic provides for students. IPVC has been working with a client, Reflexion, to bring new concussion screening technology to the market. Reflexion placed third in the national Startup Madness Competitions’ final round at South by Southwest Interactive in March 2017.
Innovative Summer International Internship Program Promotes Citizen Lawyers Abroad
William and Mary Law School’s Center for Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding has sponsored summer internships for 174 students in 47 countries. Since 2002, these internships enable law students to work in challenging environments around the world, contributing to post-conflict reconstruction efforts and strengthening the rule of law in countries struggling to recover from war, genocide and chaos.
Cleveland-Marshall Law Launches Innovative Tech Lab In Partnership with TCDI
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law has launched the new Tech Lab in partnership with TCDI. Law students and local contract attorneys will use TCDI’s review platform, CVLynx, to deliver quality, time-saving legal services. Attorney project managers will oversee all work performed in the center and work under the direct supervision and guidance of outside or in-house counsel. The Tech Lab combines the Cleveland-Marshall Law’s existing strengths in technology with several new initiatives in cutting-edge areas ranging from blockchain to legal entrepreneurship.
D.C. Summer Institute Offers Introduction to Law School and Legal Thinking
Duke University School of Law offers the D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy, which includes an introduction to law school for undergraduate students, recent college graduates, and working professionals considering law school or careers in the public sector. Courses introduce participants to legal reasoning, constitutional law, persuasive argument and legal analysis. In its sixth year, the program offered a novel course highlighting three prominent roles that lawyers hold in public service — a judge, a member of Congress, and an executive branch advisor.
Center for Innovation Policy Works to Facilitate Improvement in Federal Law and Policy
The Center for Innovation Policy (CIP) at Duke University School of Law is an independent forum that brings together legal professionals, technology and business leaders, government officials, and academic experts to identify improvements to federal law and policy that will promote innovation and economic growth. In addition to fostering dialogue among stakeholders on a range of issues through its conferences, CIP engages in policymaking and scholarly debates through the publication of research articles, essays, and white papers.
Fordham Law’s ADR Program Fosters International Understanding
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Program (ADR) at Fordham University School of Law provides students with unique opportunities to study the field of ADR. The program comprises extensive coursework, unique study-abroad opportunities, hands-on clinics, and distinguished dispute resolution student teams. After playing a role in the Northern Ireland peace process in the 1990s, Fordham Law launched a summer program in Belfast and Dublin, which continues to flourish and strengthen international relations. The ADR Program also sponsors the annual Fordham International Arbitration and Mediation Conference.
Inns of Court and Foundations of Practice Program Honored with Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award
The Inns of Court and Foundations of Practice programs at George Washington University School of Law has been nationally recognized as one of four recipients of the 2018 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award. Together, these programs reflect the law school’s culture of professional development and create a curated first-year student experience, with the Inns of Court as the centerpiece. The Gambrell Award judges and the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism called the program an “exemplary and innovative approach to preparing young lawyers for a life in the law by exposing them to exceptional professional development resources and role models.”
Street Law at Georgetown Law Celebrates 45 Years Teaching High Schoolers the Law
Georgetown University Law Center celebrated the 45th anniversary of Street Law with a summer celebration for alumni and guests, and the final round of the high school moot court competition on Monday, April 23. The program has trained more than 1,300 law students and served more than 35,000 Washington, D.C., high school students since 1972. The D.C. Council recently passed a ceremonial resolution acknowledging the work of the Street Law program.
Center for Access to Justice’s Pro Bono Program Receives Outstanding University Program Award
Georgia State University honored the Center for Access to Justice’s Pro Bono Program with the 2018 Carl V. Patton President’s Award for Community Service and Social Justice: Outstanding University Program Award. Launched in August 2017, the Pro Bono Program connects students with volunteer opportunities to address unmet legal needs in low-income communities. In addition to regular volunteer opportunities, students can participate in the program’s Alternative Spring Break and spend a week learning about a substantive access to justice issue, such eviction defense or immigration detention, while engaging in pro bono service.
Georgia State Law Adopts Data Analytics to Predict and Improve Student Success on Bar Exam
Georgia State University College of Law has developed a program using data analytics to identify early warning signs for bar exam failure and to target interventions for at-risk students, which will further improve the college’s bar passage rate. Georgia State Law will examine data such as the grades, classes taken and bar passage rates of its roughly 1,750 students enrolled during 2009 to 2017. After an analysis provides some insight, the college’s administration will consider curriculum changes as well as ways to tweak existing programs or develop new programs to facilitate better outcomes for students.
Hofstra Law Establishes First Medical-Legal Partnership with Northwell Health
Hofstra University Deane School of Law has partnered with Northwell Health to provide legal services for patients facing issues that contribute to poor health. The medical-legal partnership will focus on serving underserved children and adults whose well-being is affected by various social challenges and cannot afford legal intervention. The partnership will target community health disparities such as unsanitary housing conditions, denial of health benefits, domestic violence, access to healthy food and water, lack of consistent or affordable child care, and other factors that hinder good health.
New Initiative Aims to Expand Diversity in the Legal Profession
Mitchell Hamline School of Law has developed the Gateway to Legal Education program, which is designed to expand access to the legal profession to underserved communities. This new initiative offers free, online, law-related classes to students at colleges and universities that serve primarily minority and first-generation college students. In addition to taking classes, the students would have the option to attend a week-long summer program immersing them in the law school experience and in legal practice. Students would also be offered a free course preparing them to take the LSAT.
New Institute Prepares Law Students and Lawyers for Careers in Legal Tech Sector
New York Law School established the Business of Law Institute to create a pipeline of new lawyers to positions in the growing legal tech sector. The institute offers a mix of courses and programs: the development of the Business of Law Workshop and Seminar, which combines classroom instruction on timely regulations and technologies with hands-on work experience in a corporate legal department; a technology-centric Learning Lab where students can gain exposure to industry-leading legal tech tools; and guest lecture series on topics related to regulatory structures, business concepts, and industry-standard technologies.
New Course Teaches Students How to Use Technology to Identify Legal Problems
The Innovation Lab at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law is a joint initiative of the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center and the Master of Science in Law program. Launched in the spring of 2017, law students use technology to address challenges in the legal system. The course also includes software development and intro-to-coding components. Law students divide into teams and identify legal problems that can benefit from innovation. Student solutions included a platform to help small business owners with legal questions, a kiosk to help pro se litigants file court documents, and a platform to help first-year transactional attorneys at law firms gain experience.
Penn State Law launches Legal-Tech Virtual Lab to Explore Emerging Technology
Penn State Law School has launched the Legal-Tech Virtual Lab in the spring of 2018 with an event in University Park with legal-tech company ROSS Intelligence. The event trained Penn State students on EVA, ROSS Intelligence’s new free, publicly accessible artificial-intelligence-powered legal research tool. Partnering with leading legal technology companies and interdisciplinary partners across Penn State, lab enables students to explore the legal issues surrounding emerging technology and develop innovative educational content using those technologies.
Innovative Training Program Helps New Lawyers Hone Skills in the Courtroom
The Litigation Academy at Roger Williams University School of Law is an innovative training program for lawyers set in a federal courtroom. Formed through a partnership between RWU Law and the Federal Bar Association, the program offers experience for new lawyers, while serving the court and public with higher-quality representation. The program, novel for its use of professional actors, combines lectures by lawyers with decades of experience with workshops in which actors pose as witnesses and the students get to practice their craft. They then get feedback from state and federal judges, seasoned practitioners, and the actors themselves in a supportive setting.
Incubator Program Trains Attorneys to Help Moderate-Income Clients
The Low Bono Incubator Program provides training, guidance and resources to attorneys who combine their legal skills with entrepreneurial business savvy to help moderate-income clients. As part of the program, attorneys receive mentorship and financial assistance for one year as they build small and solo practices. The Access to Justice Institute at Seattle University School of Law launched the program in 2014 to build the next generation of lawyers working to expand access to legal services to clients who cannot afford a full-price attorney but also do not qualify for indigent aid.
Law Clinic Offers Client-Centered Legal Representation for Low-Income Residents
The Community Law Clinic at Stanford Law School is a neighborhood legal services office and trial practice clinic. The clinic serves low-income residents of East Palo Alto and communities near Stanford in three major areas of direct service: eviction defense, expungement of criminal records, and assistance obtaining Social Security disability benefits. In addition to representing individual clients in their cases, the clinic docket includes ways to engage students with policy issues in those practice areas. Over the past few years, the clinic has been assisting community groups that are seeking to pass rent stabilization measures through citizen ballot initiatives.
Law Fellows Program at UCLA Law Honored for Promoting Diversity in Legal Education
The Law Fellows Program UCLA Law School and its founding executive director, Leo Trujillo-Cox ’97, have received the Change Lawyer Award for 2018 in honor of their decades of work promoting increased diversity in the legal profession and championing underrepresented college students who are interested in pursuing careers in the law. The program introduces promising undergraduates from diverse backgrounds to the legal profession and the rigors of law school through a robust slate of lectures, mentorships and networking opportunities. Since its inception in 1997, the program has hosted more than 1,700 students from a wide array of undergraduate schools.
International Dispute Resolution Course Teaches Students to Think Globally
The International Dispute Resolution course at University of Colorado Law School blends traditional legal methods with diplomatic practices to give students a taste of the broader context in which legal dispute resolution takes place. Associate Professor Anna Spain Bradley introduces a weeklong simulation based on the U.S. Institute of Peace Simulation early in the semester. The exercise examines an active armed conflict with multiple parties which students must represent, and it underscores the importance and reality of the topics covered in the course.
Semester in Practice Program Honored with Florida Bar’s Group Professionalism Award
University of Florida Law’s Semester in Practice program has earned the 2018 Group Professionalism Award from The Florida Bar’s Standing Committee on Professionalism. Since its inception in 2016, the program is designed to provide more experiential learning opportunities and to foster professional identity by exposing students to practicing attorneys, live clients and real legal matters. The program has also enhanced connections among its alumni through networking and mentoring opportunities.
Pre-Law Pipeline Program Honored by ABA for Accomplishments in Diversity
The University of Houston Law Center’s Pre-Law Pipeline Program has been honored by the American Bar Association’s Council for Diversity in the Education Pipeline for its efforts on behalf of diversity in the legal profession. The eight-week summer course is designed to increase diversity among law school applicants and to provide students from low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented backgrounds an opportunity to seriously consider a legal education. The program divides students into two tracks – LSAC’s Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars Program, which includes classroom instruction and internships with law firms and legal organizations in the area, and Scholar II, which includes a comprehensive LSAT-focused curriculum that prepares students for the law school application process.
Innovative Data Practicum Offers a Pathway into the Privacy Profession
The University of Minnesota School of Law has established an innovative Data Compliance Practicum to help students learn about privacy careers and gain a competitive advantage in entering this emerging field. The practicum is run under Professor William McGeveran, an early adopter in the data privacy area. The practicum provides opportunities to engage in experiential learning, hear from marquee players in the industry, attend networking events, and take the Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) exam to gain a key credential.
UMKC Law Shares Innovative Courses with University of Missouri Law Students
The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law has been awarded a University of Missouri system grant to support sharing its innovative courses with University of Missouri School of Law students. The first shared course is Wrongful Convictions, which is co-taught by UMKC Clinical Professor Lindsay Runnels in cooperation with the Midwest Innocence Project. This course is the prerequisite for the Wrongful Convictions Clinic. The second shared course is International Criminal Law, which is taught by UMKC Adjunct Professor William Worster. The distance education course will give students at both law schools the fundamentals of the system of international criminal law with the option of an international field experience at The Hague in the Netherlands.
Innovative Clinic Makes Mediation Services and Training More Widely Available
University of Notre Dame Law School’s Applied Mediation Clinic provides mediation services to individuals litigating civil matters such as child custody, parenting time, discrimination, landlord-tenant disputes, business dissolutions, and contract disputes. Serve as mediators in civil cases to help people arrive at mutually agreeable terms and avoid the cost and combat of the trial process. Professor Michael Jenuwine, who leads the Applied Mediation Clinic, has also helped build capacity for mediation in the South Bend region by leading courses that qualify attorneys and judges to be listed on the Indiana registry of mediators.
Penn Law Students Support Minors Involved in the Criminal Justice System
University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Youth Advocacy Project in collaboration with the School of Social Policy & Practice work together to support minors who are prosecuted as adults in the criminal justice system. Working with the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project, a direct service and policy advocacy organization, students help get cases transferred to the juvenile system, and continue to support the minor once they return to the community. Penn Law students in the Youth Advocacy Project share their experiences.
Richmond Law’s D.C. Externship Program Offers Real-World Experience for Students
University of Richmond School of Law has established the D.C. Externship Program in 2015, which is designed to offer students the chance to gain practical experience in federal agencies and nonprofit organizations. Rising 3Ls accepted to the program live in Washington, D.C. for the semester and complete 500 hours of substantive legal work for academic credit. Students meet with Professor Stephen Allred once a week for a two-hour seminar to explore how their jobs are structured, discuss different management techniques, and hear from guest speakers.
USC Law Clinic Helps Life-Term Juvenile Offenders Receive a Second Chance
The Post-Conviction Justice Project at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law is a clinic that provides a second chance for inmates, primarily women and juvenile offenders, serving life sentences. Co-directed by Professors Michael Brennan and Heidi Rummel, students in the clinic gain experience in representing clients at parole hearings, conducting resentencing hearings for juveniles sentenced to life without parole, and litigating petitions for writs of habeas corpus in state and federal courts.
Wisconsin Law Clinic Honored for Success in Unpaid Wages Case
The Neighborhood Law Clinic at the University of Wisconsin School of Law teaches students how to apply substantive and procedural employment and rental housing laws. The clinic, which is directed by Professor Mitch, received honorable mention for ‘Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project’ from the Clinical Legal Education Association. The honor recognizes the clinic’s successful representation of a client who had not been paid for construction work. From the initial intake meeting to the trial, the case spanned four years and involved four different teams of students.
Defender Aid Program Flourishes in Shift to Trial Advocacy Cases
The Defender Aid Program at the University of Wyoming College of Law is a legal assistance clinic for individuals who have been accused or convicted of crimes and cannot afford counsel. The scope of the clinic’s work includes innocence claims made by Wyoming state prisoners (in collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center), direct appeals, and other post-conviction relief. Over the years, the clinic has shifted from post-conviction relief cases to trial and appellate cases in state and federal courts. It has afforded the students new advocacy skills, great representation for the clients, and is saving the state money.
New Initiative Offers Physician Assistants a Competitive Edge in the Legal Marketplace
Wake Forest University has established the Emerging Leaders Program in Law, a partnership between the School of Law and the School of Medicine’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program. The cross-disciplinary initiative is designed to give PA leaders a competitive edge by helping them transform the delivery of health care while navigating a complex legal marketplace. Students in the program will earn a Master of Studies in Law and Master of Medical Science in PA Studies. The 36-month sequential degree program will begin accepting applications in April 2018.
Clinic Provides Training for Local Refugee and Immigrant Food Entrepreneurs
Yale Law School’s Community Economic Development Clinic is a semester-long in-house clinic that provides transactional legal services to clients seeking to advance economic opportunity. Under the guidance of Professor Anika Singh, students assisted with the development of the curriculum for Sanctuary Kitchen’s Kitchen Incubator Program, a ten-week training program that is designed to provide resources, mentorship, and support to refugee and immigrant food entrepreneurs. Each session consisted of a presentation by the clinic team about the legal issues, including forming a food business and complying with food safety laws in Connecticut.
Northwestern Law Launches Comprehensive Set of Business Courses for Law Students
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law has partnered with the Kellogg School of Management to launch five core Kellogg courses solely for JD and LLM students. The courses will be identical in content and format to those taught to Kellogg MBA students. The five offerings include the following: Accounting for Decisionmaking; Business Analytics; Business Strategy; Finance 1; and Leadership in Organizations. This partnership will help prepare business-minded lawyers and help break down silos within professional education.
Clinic Trains Nebraska Law Students to Advocate for State’s Children
The University of Nebraska College of Law has launched its fifth legal clinic, The Children’s Justice Clinic. The new clinic will provide eight 3L students with the opportunity to serve as a guardian ad litem for children in the child welfare system. In addition, the clinic will provide cross-disciplinary training through working closely with experts at the university’s Center on Children, Families and the Law. Students in the clinic will focus on courtroom skills, federal and state child welfare laws, the child welfare process, child development and trauma in young children. Students also will train in areas such as drug and substance abuse and mental health.
Incubator Program Prepares Law Graduates for Successful Solo Practice
The Law Entrepreneurs for Access Program (LEAP) is a year-long incubator program that provides advanced legal and business training to JD students who want to run successful solo practices. In addition, JD students receive client experience and exposure to several practice areas of interest. Now in its second year, LEAP is a joint project of the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and the University of Baltimore School of Law; the Maryland State Bar Association; and Civil Justice, a Baltimore-based non-profit organization which trains and mentors the new solo practitioners.
Yale Law Clinic Provides Diverse Career Pathways in International Human Rights
The Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School provides law students with first-hand experience in human rights advocacy and a critical exploration of human rights theory and practice. Students in the clinic get practical experience with the variety of work lawyers do to advance human rights. By collaborating with partner organizations and clients, students contribute to efforts to protect human rights in the United States and around the world. Many Yale Law students also pursue human rights work over the summer through the Kirby Simon Summer Human Rights Fellowship. The article features Yale Law graduate Colleen Gilg who, while working at the Center for Justice Accountability as a Simon Summer Human Rights Fellow, spent six weeks investigating the arms trafficking and torture case of Charles Taylor, Jr., son of the former president of Liberia.
Georgia Law Matches Incoming Students with Four-Person Mentorship Team
The University of Georgia School of Law launched a unique mentoring program for incoming students. Starting with the Class of 2019, each student is matched with a four-person mentorship team consisting of a faculty member, a career development counselor, an upper-level law student and a law school graduate or legal professional. Mentors receive contact information as well as resources to guide them in their task. The program is also flexible for mentors to determine along with their mentee the communication style and frequency that works best for the team.
Georgia State Law Program Assists Clients on Consumer Bankruptcy Cases
The Bankruptcy Assistance and Practice Program at Georgia State University College of Law gives JD students the opportunity to meet Atlanta-based bankruptcy judges, attorneys and trustees while the students work with clients on bankruptcy cases. Students work in teams of two to handle consumer bankruptcy cases under the supervision of a local bankruptcy attorney. Students also work with the Pro Se Assistance Project to help provide information about the bankruptcy process and limited case-specific advice to individuals who are representing themselves in bankruptcy court.
St. John’s Law Features Introduction to Law Course for Incoming 1L Students
St. John’s University School of Law has introduced an innovative curriculum that prepares incoming 1L students for the scope and rigor of a legal education. Introduction to Law is a two-week course that covers the basics of the U.S. legal system, case analysis, statutory analysis, and legal writing. In addition, students learn the basic skills necessary to succeed in their other classes, including how to brief cases, how to outline course material, and how to approach law school exams. Complementing Introduction to Law is the full-year Legal Writing course, which includes instruction in legal research, the preparation of a memorandum of law and a brief, as well as the presentation of an oral argument. Students also take the Lawyering course, which focuses on negotiation skills and the companion skills of interviewing clients and drafting agreements.
Penn State Law Launches New Fellowship Program in Non-Urban Communities
Penn State Law School’s Community Fellows Program places law students in summer work experiences with solo practitioners and smaller law firms in non-urban areas across Pennsylvania. The new program is designed to expose JD students to the broad range of legal practice opportunities that exist in Pennsylvania outside of the state’s three largest urban areas—Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. It will support up to four 2L students each year in completion of a 10-week summer fellowship with an attorney or a small law firm.
Penn State Dickinson Law Launches New International Trial Advocacy Course
A collaborative effort between Penn State Dickinson Law’s Center for International Trial Advocacy and the International Criminal Court Bar Association has led to the creation of a new international trial advocacy training program. The specialist advocacy training course is the first of its kind at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. JD students help lawyers practicing before international tribunals improve skills in developing a legal theory in an international criminal case and develop effective openings, examinations and closing arguments. Experienced lawyers also give presentations on competencies that are essential for practicing before international courts.
BU Law School Launches New Concentration in Risk Management and Compliance
Boston University School of Law has launched a new concentration in Risk Management and Compliance. JD students learn the core legal concepts underlying compliance and their impact on business operations. Students can opt to specialize in corporate compliance, cyberlaw and security, financial services regulations, or compliance issues in health care and biotechnology. The 21-credit concentration includes required courses in Corporations, Introduction to Business Fundamentals, Administrative Law, and Introduction to Risk Management and Compliance.
Northwestern Law Features Attorney-Client Entrepreneurship Simulation Program
The Center for Practice Engagement and Innovation at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law has established a new pilot program that enhances relationships between clients and lawyers. Client Strategies is an entrepreneurship simulation program that offers JD students practical experience on a specific legal issue for a client. The program involves a combination of direct instruction, in-class client problem solving simulations, and group work. Facilitators play the client role, allowing students to put their skills into practice. The program addresses relevant skills in business communication, financial literacy, organizational behavior/decision-making, project management, marketing/business development, and law practice economics.
New Clinic Offers Legal Services to Entrepreneurs in Food and Beverage Industry
Pace Law has launched a new clinic that offers free legal services to small- and medium-sized farms, mission-oriented food and beverage entrepreneurs, and food justice non-profit organizations. A small group of second- and third-year students in the Food and Beverage Law Clinic attend a weekly seminar and complete projects that focus on transactional work, including business formation, contract negotiation, real estate transactions, and food safety and marketing regulations. The clinic is part of the Pace-NRDC Food Law initiative, a collaboration between the law school and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to expand the capacity of the legal community to help build sustainable and equitable regional food systems.
Law School Launches First Post-J.D. Certificate in Family Law
The University of Baltimore School of Law has established the nation’s first post-J.D. Certificate in Family Law. The curriculum, which offers a blend of theory and practice, seeks to prepare lawyers to handle not just the increasing volume of family law cases but also the mounting complexity of these cases, as well as the shift away from family law litigation toward alternative dispute resolution. The program is intended for new attorneys beginning to practice family law and for experienced attorneys who want to add family law expertise to their practice.
Joint Programs Provide Law Students with Perspectives to Effect Social Change
Penn Law students now have the option to pursue three unique joint-degree and certificate programs through the Penn School of Social Policy & Practice: JD/Master of Social Work, JD/MS in Social Policy, JD/MS in Nonprofit Leadership, and Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership. The joint-degree programs enhance students’ understanding of the intersection of law and social change. Students can apply their legal interests to address complex social problems and engage with social issues from a wide range of perspectives.
Law Students Help Provide Legal Assistance to Rural Farmers
Albany Law School has developed a pilot program that brings legal services with a focus on business creation to rural communities in the state of New York. The Rural Law Initiative partners law students with rural lawyers and judges to learn about rural legal practice while providing educational programs and legal services to small and startup businesses. The pilot program aims to bridge the gap between the needs of businesses and legal service providers.
Law Students Help Native American Tribes Draft Wills
Denver Law has launched a program to help Native American tribes draft free wills. The Tribal Wills Project gives students the opportunity to gain practice experience interviewing clients, reviewing documentation, and drafting the wills. Supervising volunteer attorneys review the wills and power of attorney documents before preparing them for signing. The program has helped over 75 Native American clients in Arizona, Colorado, Montana and Utah.
Law School Satellite Campus is First Law School Program in Alaska
Seattle U Law has opened its ABA-approved Alaska Satellite Campus in Anchorage, Alaska, making it the first law school in the state. It offers an Alaska-centered curriculum and experiential learning opportunities to students from any ABA accredited law school who may join the Alaska Summer and 3L Programs.
Law Students Help Tech Start-Ups Through Internship
Colorado Law has partnered with Bryan Cave LLP and tech company Fathym, Inc. for an internship program in which students who have completed the Tech Lawyer Accelerator Program, work with a start-up organization in its early stages. Students will help the start-up with affordable legal services while immersing them in technology law and practice.
Pre-Orientation Gives New Students a Look into Public Interest Work
The George Washington University Law School introduces new students to public interest and pro bono work through its pre-orientation program. The three-day program allows students a close look at these potential career choices, which often inspires 1L students to follow a career path in public interest or public service.
Michigan Law Creates Unemployment Insurance Clinic for 1L students
The Unemployment Insurance Clinic at Michigan Law allows 1L students to get first-hand experience working with social justice issues and to put what they learn in the classroom into practice. Second- and third-year students also have the opportunity to mentor students in the clinic and work on advanced oral and written advocacy.
Duke Law Creates Dual Degree Program in Bioethics and Science Policy
Duke Law’s dual-degree JD/MA in Bioethics and Science Policy immerses students in the interrelationships of law, science, ethics, and policy. This unique program allows students to complete both degrees in three years, to work collaboratively and across disciplines on briefs that translate science and emerging technologies for the courts, and to work side-by-side with faculty members.
Loyola Launches First Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Law Programs on West Coast
Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, has launched Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Law programs, the first of their kind on the West Coast. These programs allow students to interact with the advanced technological community surrounding them and provide experiential education. The interdisciplinary program includes classes taught at the Seaver College of Science and Engineering on the Silicon Beach campus of Loyola Marymount University.
New Program Supports Delaware Inventors
The Delaware Patent Pro Bono Program provides inventors in the state with free legal guidance throughout the patent application process. The program operates in cooperation with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and students can assist registered patent attorneys.
Death Penalty Clinic Recognized for Innovation
UC Berkeley Law’s Death Penalty Clinic has been named as one of the 15 most innovative law school clinics in the country by a national education magazine. Although located in California, the clinic focuses most of its work in the South where there is a chronic shortage of resources and qualified counsel. Students work on capital cases at all levels—pre-trial, direct appeal, and post-conviction.
Offering Legal Assistance to Austin’s Small Businesses and Startups
The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic helps small business owners tackle legal obstacles. Most recently, they have provided transactional law assistance to individuals in hoping to get their food truck businesses up and running and work through various regulations. Each semester, students work in teams under attorney supervision, assisting three or four clients who would otherwise be unable to afford legal assistance to start their businesses.
Serving Clients Facing Re-Entry from the Criminal Justice System
The Re-entry Clinic offers students exposure to public sector practice while allowing them to assist clients in applying for employment certificates, sealing convictions, seeking pardons, and expunging criminal records for victims of human trafficking.
Providing Legal Services to Patients with Cancer
Law students at the Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic assist low-income cancer patients in the Detroit metropolitan area. Partnering with the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center, the clinic offers students the opportunity to learn practical skills while serving the needs of patients receiving treatment at the center.
Baylor Law School’s Professional Development Program
Baylor Law’s professional development seminars impart the practical skills of being a lawyer, including dealing with clients, ethical issues, law firm economics, billing and time management so students learn acquire business acumen even as well as professionalism and are prepared to succeed from the outset of their careers.
Cleveland-Marshall’s Convertible JD Option Removes some of the Risk Associated with Law School
A unique program at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law gives students the option of converting their first-year credits toward a Master’s of Legal Studies degree awarded with just one additional course. The risk-free option spares students the expense of pursuing three-year J.D. degrees and gives them knowledge valued in many other careers, including dealing with healthcare regulation, law enforcement, compliance and contracts.
Partnering with law firms and community groups to help Rhode Island’s poor
The Pro Bono Collaborative links Roger Williams University law students with mentors in law firms and community leaders to identify and address the unmet needs of Rhode Island’s poorest residents. With a score of projects ranging from helping victims of domestic violence to assistance for the homeless to providing expungement advice, the three-way partnership has been lauded by the Legal Services Corporation and held out as a national model by the Consortium for Access to Justice.
Baking a Bigger Tech Pie: Startup Legal Garage Works to Serve Women and Minority Entrepreneurs
With support from major law firms and foundations, students at UC Hastings College of the Law are helping aspiring women and minority tech entrepreneurs get businesses started in the largely male-dominated Silicon Valley world. The Startup Legal Garage provides corporate and intellectual property advice to early-stage startups, with leading attorneys in the Bay Area supervising students’ pro bono work.
To submit a program for consideration for Innovative and Outstanding Programs, contact Jim Greif, Director of Communications at [email protected].