Embark on an Exciting Journey
For 50 years, the University of the District of Columbia David Clarke School of Law (UDC Law) has been committed to championing the legal rights of low-income and historically marginalized communities. Our history of excellence comes from a foundation of pioneering clinical education – experiential, immersive learning focused on learning the practical art of lawyering by serving real human needs. Our Clinical Program has served as a model for law schools across the country.
Students at UDC Law
At UDC Law, clinics are at the heart of our education program and mission. Every student is required to participate in the Clinical Program, where they work on ongoing legal matters with individual clients and client organizations under the supervision of an experienced attorney-professor. Typically, the student-faculty ratio in clinics ranges from 4:1 to 8:1, offering intensive one-on-one instruction, small group teaching and feedback.
Clinic is not only guaranteed at UDC Law but mandatory in order to graduate. We place such value on experiential education that all full-time students earn at least fourteen clinic credits by participating in two seven-credit clinics, and all part-time students earn at least ten clinic credits by participating in a ten-credit clinical semester offered in the evening.
Enrollment in the School’s clinics is limited to matriculated full-time and part-time students and governed by a set of Clinic Guidelines. Currently, we offer nine clinics where students obtain their student attorney certification to represent real clients facing real legal challenges. Practicing law under close supervision, student attorneys are the primary legal representatives for their clients engaging in complex matters, including litigation, transactional facilitation, policy advocacy and community education. We offer clinical experiences in nine substantive legal areas including immigration, criminal law, tax, family law, youth justice, legislation, community economic development, housing and whistleblower protection.
The Advocate: The Official UDC Law Newsletter
Always ranked highly for clinical legal training, UDC Law trains law students to practice law, promote justice, and change lives.
The Clinical Program at UDC Law provides free legal services to citizens of the District of Columbia and the D.C. Metro area who could not otherwise afford representation. The clinical approach places theory within the only context in which it is truly meaningful: the resolution of actual legal disputes affecting individuals and communities in the District and beyond.
Faculty and students at UDC Law work closely with individuals and organizations to advance access to justice while learning substantive law and lawyering skills. This clinical experience not only contributes to a better understanding of the law learned in the classroom but also gives UDC Law graduates a significant advantage in the workplace over those whose legal education lacks such practical experience. Legal ethics and professional responsibility in the practice of law are emphasized throughout clinics.
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Students at UDC Law
What kinds of cases does the Clinic accept? We represent low-income (below approximately 200% of the federal poverty guidelines) and underrepresented people living in the D.C. area who have legal issues in the District, including: domestic violence-related family law; juveniles (14-24 years old), adult misdemeanor criminal cases; federal income tax disputes; immigration cases; non-profits and small businesses, housing issues, and whistleblower rights.
Clinic Highlights: Community Development Law Clinic
Shagaf Shehadeh ’22 and Sonya Williams (3L) on the greater impact of cases they worked on in the Community Development Law Clinic
Can the Clinic Help Me?
For cases involving other matters in the District of Columbia, please consult:
- Law Help (for self-help information and a list of providers) – https://www.lawhelp.org/DC
- Legal Aid of DC – https://www.legalaiddc.org/
- Neighborhood Legal Services – https://www.nlsp.org/
- District of Columbia Bar Association – https://www.dcbar.org/pro-bono/free-legal-help
- DC Advice & Referral Clinic – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bar Association of DC Lawyer Referral Service – https://www.badc.org/lawyer-referral-service#/
In Maryland, please consult:
- Law Help – https://www.lawhelp.org/?state=MD
- Legal Aid – https://www.mdlab.org
- 2-1-1 Maryland – https://211md.org/resources/legal-services/
In Virginia, please consult:
- Legal Aid – https://www.valegalaid.org/
- Virginia State Bar – https://www.vsb.org/site/sections/pro_bono/resources_public
To see a directory of nonprofit agencies in your area that may be able to help you, please go to www.LawHelp.org and click on your state. The LawHelp platform is maintained by legal aid agencies in each state to provide information and resources to the public.
Impact In Legal Education
The University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law is the law school of the University of the District of Columbia, a public historically black land-grant university in Washington, D.C.
In May, the American Bar Association ranked the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law #5 in the nation for sending its graduates into government and public interest jobs. U.S. News and World Report also ranked the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law #13 (tie) in the nation for Best Clinical Training Law Program, a distinction it shares with Harvard University. The law school also welcomed its largest class in five years in fall 2023.