About the Legal Services Clinic
The IPC’s Legal Services Clinic currently offers legal representation in the following practice areas: community justice, elder law, immigration law, criminal and juvenile defense, bankruptcy law, federal commutation, federal appellate, immigration appellate, trademark, nonprofit orgs, and religious liberties appellate. Students from the University of St. Thomas School of Law provide supervised legal representation and advocacy on behalf of our clients. We collaborate with social work and psychology professionals in the center, taking where possible a holistic approach to clients’ often multifaceted challenges
What would I do in the clinic?
Through live client representation and law reform work, you might engage in the following activities:
- legal research and writing on real cases
- fact investigation
- case planning
- resolution of legal ethical issues
- trial preparation
- appearances in court
- negotiation of settlements
- counseling clients on transactions
- collaboration with other law, social work and psychology students
What are the practice areas of the clinic and who are the clients?
For more information on our practice areas click the links below:
- Community Justice Project
- Criminal and Juvenile Defense
- Immigration Law Practice Group
- Immigration Appellate
- Consumer Bankruptcy Clinic
- Bankruptcy Litigation Clinic
- Federal Commutation
- Nonprofit Orgs Clinic
- Religious Liberty Appellate Clinic
Collaboration with Other Professionals
You will learn alongside your colleagues-in-training in social work and psychology. From navigating occasionally conflicting codes of professional conduct to providing complementary services to clients, students at the center learn how other professions work to further the interests of their clients.
Social work case managers often provide much-needed emotional support to clients embroiled in difficult legal issues, as well as assisting them in resolving nonlegal matters. Graduate psychology students have provided psychological evaluations and testified in court.
Learning in Action
Learning and practice occur in a variety of settings. You would attend clinic classes ranging in size from six to 40 students. Classes often include a mix of law, social work and psychology students. You may also meet in legal practice groups and in case team meetings to discuss client work. And you would meet with clients, either at our state-of-the-art facilities or off-site, visiting nursing homes, community organizations or detention facilities. In preparing cases, you might contact human rights experts halfway around the world or track down witnesses across town.
You would also address the stress of working with clients who are facing significant life crises. In classes, case teams and one-on-one discussions, students are encouraged to reflect on the challenges of maintaining a dynamic equilibrium between the demands of work and home life. We take seriously how students’ core values and beliefs, including their faith traditions, play into maintaining this dynamic.
When can I join the clinic?
The clinic is open to second- and third-year law students. Approximately 100 positions are available each year for first-time clinical students, and five to ten positions are available for advanced clinic each year. While the application process is a competitive one, a student can apply the following year if their first attempt is unsuccessful.
How many credits will I earn in clinic?
First-time students receive two to six credit hours in semester-long offerings. Advanced level students receive two or three credits per semester.
How can I apply?
Only students preparing to enter their second or third year of law school may apply to participate in the Legal Services Clinic. Applications are available in February for fall clinics and in October for spring clinics. All potential applicants are e-mailed information about the process or are asked to check back here more information. Information sessions are also scheduled for students with questions. If you are a current law student at St. Thomas interested in a clinic, visit our OneStThomas page for more information.