As one of the first law schools to initiate a clinical program, UW Law School is committed to practical experience as a part of legal education. The Frank J. Remington Center and the Economic Justice Institute were among the school's first clinical programs. Over the years, UW Law has strengthened and increased the number of clinical opportunities it provides.

Hands-on lawyering experiences with real people

Clinics provide students with hands-on lawyering experiences with real people—clients, victims, witnesses, family members, lawyers, and judges—enhancing student understanding of the roles and responsibilities of practicing attorneys.

Under the supervision of clinical professors or supervising attorneys, students interview clients, perform factual investigations, conduct legal research, prepare client letters, draft legal documents, and write briefs.

Clinics

All clinics comparison table

Center for Patient Partnerships

The Center for Patient Partnerships is a national resource for strengthening the patient perspective in health care. Students from the Law School, across campus, and throughout the country come to this interdisciplinary health advocacy center to learn critical legal and health advocacy skills while helping patients navigate the complex health care system. Gain experience with insurance appeals, public benefit enrollment, and medical decision making. Law students also serve as legal resource navigators in local primary care clinics for community members facing health-harming legal needs and provide preventative legal services on issues such as eviction and immigration.

Additional opportunities are available in patient experience research and organizational and legislative policy advocacy through student-led “case to cause” projects. Students have the option to pursue a certificate in Health Advocacy.

Area of LawHealth, Disability, Employment
Program StartSummer, Fall, Spring
Length of Program and Credits1 or 2 Semesters: 3 or 6 credit options
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone
DirectorSarah Davis, Jill Jacklitz
Director Contactsarah.davis@wisc.edu; jjacklitz@wisc.edu

Center for Patient Partnerships Homepage

Constitutional Litigation, Appeals & Sentencing Project

The Constitutional Litigation, Appeals, and Sentencing Project (CLASP) is a one-semester program in which students will satisfy: (1) their experiential-learning requirement and (2) their upper-level writing requirement.

CLASP accepts clients who have sought assistance from other clinics within the Remington Center. Therefore, students will have the opportunity to work on the same cases as students who enroll in the Wisconsin Innocence Project, the Federal Appeals Project, the Criminal Appeals Project, and the Legal Assistance to Institutionalized Persons Project.

Area of LawAppellate advocacy, Criminal law
Program StartSummer
Length of Program and CreditsOne semester: 7 cr
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone
DirectorSteve Wright
Director Contactshwright@wisc.edu

Constitutional Litigation, Appeals & Sentencing Project Homepage

Consumer Law Clinic

Consumer Law Clinic students participate in all aspects of a dynamic consumer protection practice featuring litigation and advocacy. They defend debtors in pre- and post-judgment matters. They represent consumers against scammers, fraudsters, and marketplace predators. They also delve into complex legal issues such as consumer credit transactions, forced arbitration, predatory lending, and unfair debt collection. Finally, students advocate for stronger protections and better treatment in the legal system for Wisconsin consumers in judicial, legislative, and administrative arenas.

Area of LawConsumer Protection, Consumer Debt
Program StartFall Semester
Length of Program and Credits2 Semesters: Fall (3 cr) + Spring (3 cr)
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone
DirectorSarah Orr
Director Contactsarah.orr@wisc.edu

Consumer Law Clinic Homepage

Criminal Appeals Project

Students in the Criminal Appeals Project represent clients appealing their convictions of crimes under Wisconsin law. Students combine class work on appellate procedure and advocacy, client-centered representation, issue spotting, and persuasive writing with their work on an actual criminal appeal assigned by the State Public Defender's Office. In the fall semester, and under the supervision of an experienced appellate attorney, students meet their appeal clients, read transcripts, and communicate with the persons involved in the case. Ultimately, the students must determine whether there is a meritorious appeal for each case assigned.

Assuming a case has merit, students research and write the appellate brief for the case during the spring semester. Students attend a weekly large-group section to study appellate procedure, the ethics of appellate representation, issue spotting, and persuasion. They also participate in a weekly discussion where they analyze their cases. Students may participate in hearings before a court.

Area of LawAppellate Advocacy, Criminal Law
Program StartFall
Length of Program and Credits2 Semesters: Fall (5 cr) + Spring (5 cr)
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesCriminal Procedure recommended
DirectorTristan Breedlove
Director Contacttbreedlove@wisc.edu

Criminal Appeals Project Homepage

Eviction Defense Clinic

The Eviction Defense Clinic (EDC) provides legal help for people who are facing an eviction court case. Clinical law students handle individual cases and engage in community-led education and advocacy. The EDC works in a multidisciplinary community partnership with the Tenant Resource Center and the Legal Action of Wisconsin and Community Justice, Inc. to prevent evictions by providing legal services to tenants in eviction court. The partnership provides our clients wrap-around services that seek to prevent eviction, such as rental assistance, housing navigation and access to other community resources.

Area of LawLandlord/Tenant Eviction in Small Claims Court
Program StartSummer, Fall
Length of Program and CreditsSummer or 2 Semesters: Summer only (6 cr) or Fall (4 cr) + Spring (2-4 cr)
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesProfessional Responsibilities; those who have taken Lawyering Skills may receive priority
DirectorSophie Crispin, Grace Kube
Director Contactcrispin@wisc.edu; gkube@wisc.edu

Eviction Defense Clinic Homepage

Family Court Clinic

Family Court Clinic students represent individual clients in family law matters under the supervision of experienced clinical faculty and provide legal information and guidance to unrepresented litigants. Through direct service to the community, students learn how to think and act like lawyers. They develop an understanding not only of the social and economic contexts in which the litigants’ problems occur, but also of the possibilities and limitations of the legal system.

The clinic provides much-needed assistance to unrepresented family law litigants in our community. It simultaneously affords law students an extraordinary opportunity to develop their lawyering skills and advance their emotional intelligence through reflection and client interactions. Students work at the Dane County Courthouse, as well as at a community office located in a low-income, culturally diverse part of the city.

Area of LawFamily, Juvenile Guardianships, Child Support
Program StartFall
Length of Program and Credits1 or 2 semesters: FCC Guardianship Clinic - Fall only (6 cr) or Family Court Clinic - Fall (6 cr) + Spring (variable cr)
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone
DirectorJennifer Binkley
Director Contactjbinkley@wisc.edu

Family Court Clinic Homepage

Family Law Advocacy & Support Clinic

The Family Law Advocacy & Support Clinic (FLASC) uses a multi-disciplinary approach to assist families who are at risk of becoming involved in the child welfare system. FLASC is a partnership between the Department of Children and Families, the law school, and the UW School of Social Work. County social workers refer individuals who would benefit from preventative legal advocacy. Law students then work collaboratively with social work students to provide assistance, including providing legal information, forms, and guidance to unrepresented litigants on family law issues, direct representation in family law cases, and referrals for non-family law issues. Students will focus their advocacy on family law issues, such as divorce, paternity, child support, maintenance, custody and placement, and juvenile guardianships.

Area of LawFamily Law, Juvenile Guardianships, Child Support
Program StartFall
Length of Program and Credits2 Semesters: Fall (6 cr) + Spring (6 cr)
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone
DirectorCary Bloodworth
Director Contactbloodworth@wisc.edu

Family Law Advocacy & Support Clinic Homepage

Federal Appeals Project

Second- and third-year law students in the Federal Appeals Project combine class work on federal appellate procedure, client-centered representation, issue spotting, and persuasive writing, with work on an actual criminal appeal assigned by Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Students in FAP work in pairs on a criminal appeal under the supervision of experienced clinical faculty and in partnership with experience federal practitioners in the Federal Public Defender’s Service and private practice. Trial transcripts begin arriving in the fall, and assuming that a case has merit, students will brief the case for the Seventh Circuit during the late fall and spring semesters. Students taking part in the FAP take "Special Problems in Criminal Justice Administration: Federal Criminal Appeals," along with their clinical work. The class features weekly large and small group discussion sections. In large group sessions, students learn about federal appellate procedure, the ethics of appellate representation, issue spotting, and persuasion. At the same time, in the small groups and clinical components, students communicate with their appeal clients, read transcripts, and research and investigate their clients’ cases.

Area of LawAppellate Advocacy, Criminal
Program StartFall
Length of Program and Credits2 Semesters: Fall (5 cr) + Spring (4 cr)
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesCriminal Procedure recommended
DirectorAdam Stevenson
Director Contactadam.stevenson@wisc.edu

Federal Appeals Project Homepage

Immigrant Justice Clinic

The Immigrant Justice Clinic represents clients in immigration proceedings before the Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The clinic also represents clients in state courts related to their immigration status. The clinic's primary focus is to help individuals facing immigration consequences as a result of criminal charges. However, we also assist in a wide range of other cases, e.g., representing individuals fleeing persecution and seeking asylum and individuals who have been the victims of domestic violence or other crimes. Clinic students also conduct presentations in the community to educate non-citizens about their rights and to raise awareness about the challenges faced by immigrants. Students regularly visit immigration detainees in jail to provide "know your rights" information and to conduct case intakes. Students develop core lawyering skills, such as interviewing, counseling, fact-investigation, legal research and brief-writing, and trial advocacy. Students also have the opportunity to present a case in immigration court. Students develop public-speaking and community-relations skills through outreach and education projects. The clinic encourages students to engage in a reflective practice that examines broader issues of human migration, social justice and human rights, and the role of lawyers and the legal system.

Area of LawImmigration Detention and Removal Proceedings, Immigration Consequences of Crimes, Humanitarian Immigration Law
Program StartSummer, Fall
Length of Program and CreditsSummer only (3-7 cr) or 1-2 semesters: Fall (6 cr) + Spring (1-4 cr)
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone
DirectorErin Barbato
Director Contactekmurphy@wisc.edu

Immigrant Justice Clinic Homepage

Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic

The student attorneys in the Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic act as business and corporate counsel to more than 250 clients per year. Clinic participation requires thinking like a lawyer and acting like an entrepreneur. Students work on legal needs like business formation, capital structure, angel and venture-backed securities, and employment and founders contracts. Students interested in intellectual property issues will file trademark and patent applications, perform patentability and freedom-to-operate analyses, and write proprietary and open-source licenses for technology clients.

The L&E Clinic operates similarly to a private-practice law firm. Participants manage their own client load, bill time, manage and prepare documents, and report to supervising attorneys, other students, and outside partners.

Area of LawBusiness Transactions, Legal Issues for Start-Up Companies
Program StartSummer, Fall, Spring
Length of Program and CreditsSummer or 1 semester (3-7 cr)
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone (Business Organizations and Introduction to Intellectual Property recommended)
DirectorEmily Buchholz
Director Contactemily.buchholz@wisc.edu

Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic Homepage

Legal Assistance to Incarcerated People

The Legal Assistance to Incarcerated People (LAIP) clinic has worked to fulfill the needs of underserved prison inmates for over four decades. Students learn about, and reflect on, the profound human consequences of an individual's involvement in the criminal system. Clinic students assist with real legal work. Already in the first week, they may meet clients and conduct client interviews. With the variety of issues inmates face, students work on a variety of legal issues, both criminal and civil. They are advocates for their clients and work to ensure that clients receive justice within the system. Students hone their communication skills: they draft motions and parole letters and advocate orally by representing clients at hearings. Students work closely with courts, opposing attorneys, criminal justice agencies, and prison personnel.

Area of LawCriminal, Immigration
Program StartFall, Spring
Length of Program and Credits1 or 2 Semesters: Fall-only (6 cr), Fall (3 cr) + Spring (3 cr), or Spring-only (6 cr)
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesCriminal Procedure recommended
DirectorGreg Wiercioch
Director Contactgregory.wiercioch@wisc.edu

Legal Assistance to Incarcerated People Homepage

Neighborhood Law Clinic

Students in this community-based law clinic, located in the heart of Madison's South Side area, provide individual representation to clients in rental housing, public benefits, unpaid worker, and discrimination cases. Students’ legal work prevents families from becoming homeless and helps workers recover their unpaid wages. In addition, students may contribute to community advocacy projects, including legislative and policy analysis, legal education, or community mobilization efforts.

The clinic provides a complex learning environment in which students develop lawyering skills and learn how to think critically about the role and limits of law as a force for justice and social change. Students engage in traditional litigation practice, using skills such as fact investigation, legal research, analysis, drafting, negotiation, counseling, and trial work. Students also gain non-traditional lawyering skills through activities such as public speaking, drafting community education materials, and participating in local campaigns for social and economic justice.

Area of LawRental Housing, Employment, Discrimination
Program StartSummer, Fall
Length of Program and CreditsSummer-only (6 cr) or Fall (4 cr) + Spring (2-4 cr)
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone
DirectorMitch
Director Contactmitch@wisc.edu


Oxford Federal Project

Students assist inmates in federal correctional institutions with a wide variety of legal challenges. Under the supervision of an experienced attorney, clinic students visit clients in prison, investigate and research their cases, and frequently correspond with clients, U.S. Attorney's Offices, and the U.S. Parole Commission, as well as with family members and witnesses. Students may have the opportunity to litigate federal criminal appeals assigned by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Students in the Oxford Federal Project and Federal Appeals Project learn how to navigate through a complex legal system — taking on both adversarial and collaborative roles — while advocating on behalf of their clients. Clinic students and their supervising attorney meet regularly to grapple with the legal and ethical issues their cases raise. Most students have opportunities to appear and advocate before judges, parole hearing examiners, immigration panels, or other decision-makers.

Area of LawCriminal, Family Law, Immigration
Program StartFall
Length of Program and Credits2 Semesters: Fall (4 cr) + Spring (4 cr)
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesCriminal Procedure recommended
DirectorAdam Stevenson
Director Contactadam.stevenson@wisc.edu

Oxford Federal Project Homepage

Restorative Justice Project

Students work on restorative-justice dialogue requests and prepare to facilitate face-to-face meetings between victims/survivors of crime and the responsible parties. This process allows victims/survivors to obtain answers to lingering questions in the aftermath of a serious crime. It also facilitates an understanding that reaches far beyond the crime itself and often has a profound, positive impact on both lives.

Throughout this intensive process, students cultivate and hone their mediatio, client interviewing, and listening skills. They learn how to ask difficult questions, identify creative solutions to complex issues, engage in multi-party communication, and manage conflict in challenging situations. Students also get a unique perspective on the criminal justice system, supporting and assisting crime victims and exploring responsible parties’ motivations.

Clinic students also have the option to utilize restorative justice to address conflict and harm in the community. In project areas of their choice, they work with community leaders and local organizations to respond to crime, violence, and other issues such as racial disparities in the criminal legal system.

Area of LawVictim-Offender Dialogues, Mediation, Alternatives to Prosecution, Youth Courts, Criminal Justice Policy & Procedure
Program StartFall
Length of Program and Credits2 Semesters: Fall (3-5 cr) + Spring (3-5 cr)
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone
DirectorJonathan Scharrer
Director Contactjonathan.scharrer@wisc.edu

Restorative Justice Project Homepage

Restraining Order & Survivor Advocacy Clinic

The Restraining Order and Survivor Advocacy (ROSA) Clinic provides direct legal services to victims/survivors of intimate-partner violence, sexual assault and/or crime in Dane, Jefferson, Rock, Sauk and other surrounding counties.

Law students assist victims/survivors of intimate-partner violence and/or crime by drafting restraining order petitions, providing direct representation at injunction hearings, and providing relevant resources under the supervision of experienced clinical faculty. In addition, the Clinic assists victims/survivors with other legal needs consistent with Wisconsin’s Marsy’s Law.

In the ROSA Clinic, students assist in representing victims/survivors of intimate-partner violence.The educational goal of the clinic is to train students in litigation skills, research, analysis, client interviewing, negotiation and in the dynamics of intimate-partner violence. ROSA Clinic students learn trauma-informed lawyering and work directly with victims and survivors of intimate-partner violence.

Area of LawIntimate Partner Violence/Sexual Assault, Restraining Orders
Program StartFall
Length of Program and Credits1 Semester: Fall (1-7 cr)
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesNone
DirectorRyan Poe-Gavlinski
Director Contactryan.poegavlinski@wisc.edu

Restraining Order & Survivor Advocacy Clinic Homepage

Wisconsin Innocence Project

Law students in the Wisconsin Innocence Project have worked to free wrongly incarcerated individuals, relying on DNA technology, changes in forensic science, and old-fashioned investigation to uncover the truth. The project seeks to exonerate the innocent, educate students, and reform the criminal justice system by identifying and remedying the causes of wrongful convictions.

Students investigate actual-innocence claims by searching for newly discovered evidence or evidence that was unknown at the time of trial. Untested physical evidence, changes in scientific knowledge, or a recantation can all support a claim of innocence. When the new evidence is strong enough, students work to litigate the claims in court. Through their work on these cases, students learn about the operation of the criminal justice system and how that system can sometimes go awry. In proving innocence years after a conviction, the students gain insight into how a wrongful conviction can occur and how it might have been prevented. Students work to give wrongly convicted persons their lives and freedom back often after years of unjust incarceration.

Area of LawAppellate Advocacy, Criminal
Program StartFall
Length of Program and Credits2 Semesters: Fall (5 cr) + Spring (3 cr)
Classes Eligible2L & 3L
PrerequisitesCriminal Procedure recommended
DirectorRachel Burg
Director Contactrburg2@wisc.edu

Wisconsin Innocence Project Homepage


Frequently Asked Questions

Who can enroll in clinical programs, and when? 

Clinical programs are available to students in their second and third years of law school.

The clinics vary in their timing and duration, which include:

  • One-semester commitment
  • Required fall-spring commitment
  • Stand-alone summer programs

Finally, clinics may require a prerequisite course before students can enroll and all require that students take a classroom component, in addition to their client work.

How do students enroll in clinical programs?

Clinics provide information on how to apply at information sessions that occur on several occasions in the fall semester. The contact person(s) listed on the clinic web pages will provide information on how to apply.

Most clinics are "consent of instructor" courses, meaning they do not have open enrollment, but instead require students to apply and be accepted into the clinic.

Where do students work if they are enrolled in clinical programs?

The working location for students will depend on the program.

All of the Law School's live-client clinics are housed in the Law School. While these clinic students do the bulk of their work in the clinic offices, they may travel to meet clients in Madison (e.g. the Neighborhood Law Clinic maintains offices on the south side of Madison, where students staff office hours) or outside of Madison (e.g. LAIP clients are incarcerated around Wisconsin).

Are clinic students able to appear in court?

As of July 1, 2021, new Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules now allow students who have completed the first-year curriculum for a full-time student to appear on behalf of their client in court or at hearings if accompanied by a clinical professor or supervising attorney as set forth in SCR chapter 50.

The new rules give law students in Wisconsin earlier opportunities for first hand legal experience. Read the Wisconsin Bar's announcement about the new changes.

For more information about student certification, view the Wisconsin SCR Rule 50 FAQ.

How many credits do students receive for their clinical work?

For the clinical component of their experience, Law School Rule 3.14(5) requires a student to perform a minimum of 45 hours of work per semester per credit. Assuming a 15-week semester, that comes out to a minimum of 4 hours per credit per week.

Thus, the number of credits will vary, depending on how many hours of work a given clinical program requires for enrollment.

Most students enroll for 7 credits during the summer which corresponds to roughly 27 hours per week for the 12-week session.

Is clinical work graded?

The clinical work is generally graded as Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory.

Do clinical course credits apply toward Law School graduation requirements?

Yes, all credits earned in clinics apply toward the 90 credits required for graduation.

In addition, a maximum of five clinical credits may be applied toward the 60-credit diploma privilege requirement.

Students should contact the instructor(s) of each clinic they are interested in, to determine the exact title of classroom courses that accompany the clinical work.

Is funding or tuition remission available for clinical experiences?

UW Law School endeavors to make experiential learning opportunities accessible for as many students as possible.

If summer students work for UW part-time, they may be entitled to tuition remission. Tuition remission for summer clinics means that students can earn credits during the summer semester without having to pay tuition, but they are required to pay nominal student segregation fees.

During the recruitment and application period each fall, students will be provided with specific details about funding and tuition remission.

Can students create their own Clinical Program?

Clinical courses are governed by Law School Rule 3.14. Students are not free to "construct their own" clinical program.

Application Process & Timelines

For information about the application process and timelines for clinics that begin in summer 2023 and fall 2023, consult the Canvas course titled "LAW – Experiential Learning Fair 2022." All 1L and 2L students received an invitation to that course. For questions, contact angela.haugen@wisc.edu.

For experiential learning opportunities outside the Law School, visit our Externships page.



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