3, 4, or 5 Credits (Clinic)
This one-semester package includes both a clinical course and seminar. Students spend 5 (1-credit), 10 (2-credit), or 15 (3-credit) hours per week in their fieldwork, depending on the number of credits for the clinical portion. In addition, all law students attend a weekly 2-hour seminar (2 credits). The total package is offered for 3, 4, or 5 credits, with the 3-credit package open to students in part-time academic programs only.
For the clinical portion, the core placements include the New England Law Clinical Law Office and off-site placements such as Greater Boston Legal Services, where students handle civil cases. Law students practice under Rule 3:03 of the Supreme Judicial Court, typically representing indigent clients. An explicit goal of this course is to provide students with direct experience providing "legal services for the benefit of persons of limited means" (see MASS. R PROF. CONDUCT R. 6.1.). Placements in governmental agencies are not the focus of this clinic, since the placements in other clinical courses are so heavily weighted toward the government sector (e.g., Government Lawyer Clinic, Tax Clinic, Administrative Law Clinic, Criminal Procedure II Clinic, Federal Courts Clinic). The seminar portion of the course focuses on public interest law and the public interest lawyer.
Classes, or units of classes, include issues such as introduction to substantive areas of public interest law (e.g., family law, housing law, government benefits); ethics (e.g., issues affecting public interest lawyers, regulation of the profession and delivery of legal services); clients (unmet legal needs and issues of poverty, race, and gender); the courts (dispensing justice to persons of limited means); and legal education (the role of law schools in preparing lawyers for practice). Issues from students' fieldwork are incorporated into the classes to strengthen the connections between classroom and fieldwork, as well as theory and practice. This course also satisfies New England Law’s Experiential Education Requirement.
“My clinical experience gave me the tools needed to succeed post-graduation in public interest work. With all the experience I gained, I was able to secure a position as an Honors Attorney with the Department of Justice.” —Jessica Rodenhiser