Experiential learning provides hands-on experience; facilitates the development of practical skills, judgment and professional identity; and equips you to hit the ground running as a new lawyer.
UW Law School's curriculum provides an extraordinary range of opportunities for experiential learning. We offer clinical education—hands-on work with real clients—in areas as varied as criminal law, health-care advocacy, and business law and entrepreneurship. You can pursue a wide range of opportunities for externship and internship placements with judges, state agencies and public interest organizations. And we provide sophisticated simulation courses that will prepare you for the real-life challenges of law practice. Given the breadth of what we offer, you will find an experiential learning opportunity at Wisconsin to suit your interests and develop your talents.
UW Law's tradition of excellence and its law-in-action approach to legal education are highlighted in its clinical and skills training programs. It is this law-in-action approach — in which students learn not only what the law is, but also how the law works — that helps develop well-educated, thoughtful graduates who are able successfully to bridge the gap between law school and practice. Clinical students receive a rich educational experience, applying the legal theory they have learned in the classroom to help real people outside of the classroom.
Through the UW Law School's externship program, students receive course credit for working in an off-campus legal setting, such as a judge’s office or a state agency, under the supervision of an on-site attorney. Students may work in branches of the government, including state and federal levels and executive agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations. Students gain professional lawyering skills and insights into various aspects of the legal system and profession and have opportunities to network.
The Lawyering Skills Program provides a number of simulation courses that enable students to develop lawyering skills in a carefully supervised, hands-on classroom setting. Oral communication skills, negotiations, writing for practice, and client counseling are some of the courses offered through the program. The cornerstone of the Lawyering Skills Program is the Lawyering Skills Course, a hands-on optional third-year course that integrates what students have learned throughout law school to the core skills needed for effective law practice. The course emphasizes the skills students will need in the early years of practice.
The Pro Bono Program provides students with opportunities to deliver legal services to underrepresented community members. Students are assisted and supported by Pro Bono Program staff with placements in private and nonprofit law firms, legal aid groups, in-house programs, and other organizations, where their pro bono work will be performed under direct attorney supervision. Students completing a minimum number of hours of pro bono service are recognized with a certificate at graduation.