Embark on an Exciting Journey
Serving DC Residents for over 50 years
For over 50 years, the University of the District of Columbia David A. 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 the practical art of lawyering by serving real human needs. Our Clinical Program has served as a model for law schools across the country.
Welcome to the UDC Law Clinical Program
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.
Students at UDC Law
Being the heart and mission of UDC Law, 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. 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.
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 individuals and organizations facing real legal challenges.
Practicing law under close supervision, student attorneys are the primary legal representatives for low-income (below approximately 200% of the federal poverty guidelines) and underrepresented people living in the D.C. area. Students work on complex legal 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.
To graduate with a Juris Doctor degree from UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, each student must meet the school’s clinic requirement, which depends on the student’s entering year and division (full-time or part-time). For students entering in 2018 and later, full-time students must earn at least fourteen clinic credits by participating in two seven-credit clinic, and part-time students must earn at least ten clinic credits by participating in one ten-credit evening clinic. See Student Handbook, Sec. 1.5. To be eligible to enroll in a clinic, students must meet the prerequisite.
Students at UDC Law
What kinds of cases does the Clinic accept? We represent 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 (Class of 2023) 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 – email@example.com
- 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.
Explore all of our Law Clinical Programs
Community Development Law Clinic
The clinic often works in concert with community-based business centers and other professionals to provide clients with comprehensive professional consulting services.
Criminal Defense and Racial Justice Clinic
The Clinic exposes students to the work of public defenders, teaching them how to use a range of advocacy tools to provide zealous, compassionate, and client-centered representation to those harshly impacted by the criminal legal system.
General Practice Clinic
The General Practice Clinic focuses on representing and advocating for survivors of domestic violence. Student attorneys take on a mix of advocacy projects in the DC legal community and direct client representation in family law litigation cases.
Housing Advocacy and Litigation Clinic
Created in 1968, Rising for Justice (formerly named D.C. Law Students in Court) is the oldest and one of the most highly regarded clinical programs in the city.
Immigration & Human Rights Clinic
The Clinic advocates for clients living in Washington, DC, and the greater metropolitan area and focuses on cases before the Arlington immigration court and Arlington asylum office.
Legislation and Civil Rights Clinic
The Legislation Clinic seeks to train students in the various skills necessary for effective legislative lawyering. The Clinic’s mission is two-fold:
UDC Law’s Tax Clinic provides students with hands-on experience representing taxpayers with active tax controversies before the IRS, in U.S. Tax Court and, in limited instances, state tax agencies. Students primarily represent low income, Metro DC residents.
Whistleblower Protection Clinic
The Whistleblower Protection Clinic (formerly known as the Government Accountability Project Clinic) provides students with a unique opportunity to work with leaders in the legal community who preserve freedom of speech by protecting those who blow the whistle on corporate and governmental abuses of power that betray the public trust.
Youth Justice Clinic
At its core, the Youth Justice Clinic seeks to improve disparate outcomes for youth in the District of Columbia. The clinic recognizes the layers of barriers that push youth into the juvenile system, including racism, adultification bias, education inequity, and housing instability. The clinic takes a holistic approach to achieving its mission.
Conversations with Clinicians
Free and open to the public!
In Spring 2022, the UDC Law Clinical Program launched Conversations with Clinicians, a series that brings leading experiential legal educators from across the country to the UDC Law community to discuss topics of interest to the clinical legal education community.
Join us each semester for a new season as we dive into some of the most pressing issues facing our professional community.
The leaders of our UDC Law Clinical Program
MANAGING ATTORNEY OF CLINICAL AND EXPERIENTIAL PROGRAMS
Contact: (202) 274-7315
CLINIC STAFF ASSISTANT
Contact: (202) 274-5073