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

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

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


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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