Washburn Law Clinic
The Pathway To Practice
Participation in Washburn Law Clinic can help law students improve practice skills and cure courtroom jitters.
Law school classes provide an important educational foundation for students preparing to enter the legal profession. Clinical experience provides students the opportunity to apply this classroom knowledge in a professional and practical learning environment by representing real clients in real cases.
At Washburn Law, we offer a number of different practice areas.
Students enrolled in the Washburn Law Clinic are not merely law clerks performing support work but rather the Washburn Law clinical program is structured so that interns have primary responsibility for their clients' cases. The Kansas Supreme Court grants special permission to Clinic interns to practice law and represent clients in court. This valuable opportunity gives Clinic interns an advantage in the marketplace because by the time they graduate, they have already acquired real world experience. While Clinic interns are becoming effective lawyers, they are also providing free legal services to members of the community who cannot afford to hire private attorneys.
While working in the Law Clinic interns will
- Counsel clients
- Investigate case-related facts
- Draft pleadings and argue motions
- Negotiate with opposing counsel
- Draft charter and governing documents and business agreements
- Apply for tax-exempt status for nonprofit organizations
- Conduct hearings and trials before the Shawnee County District Court, Topeka Municipal Court, U.S. District Court, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation District Court, and various administrative tribunals.
Interns also present appeals to the Kansas Court of Appeals, Kansas Supreme Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
The Washburn Law Clinic functions as an in-house general practice law firm, providing representation in practice areas such as:
- Children and Family Law,
- Civil Litigation,
- Criminal Defense,
- Criminal Appellate Advocacy,
- Small Business & Nonprofit Transactional Law, and
- Tribal Court.
Regardless of the subject matter of the Clinic cases, the skills that interns acquire through their clinical experience are transferable to future practice.
Experiential education at Washburn is supplemented by a rich Externship Program which offers a wide array of practical learning opportunities. The Clinic experience is further enhanced by the school's Centers for Excellence: the Center for Excellence in Advocacy, the Children and Family Law Center, the Business and Transactional Law Center, the Center for Law and Government, the International and Comparative Law Center, and the Oil and Gas Law Center. The Clinic plays a vital role in these programs.
To contribute to the education and development of law students into thoughtful, skilled, ethical attorneys by providing them with the opportunity to practice law and represent clients while under the personalized supervision of an experienced faculty attorney.
Washburn University School of Law
1700 SW College
Topeka, KS 66621
clinic [at] washburnlaw.edu
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“Clinic has not only been a great opportunity for me to work on the skills I’ve learned in my classes, but it has also helped highlight things I need to work on to be come truly ‘practice ready.’”
— Lindsee Acton, Class of 2015
Students who practice law in one of our 7 clinic practice areas have a legal skill-set that sets them apart from their law school peers. Employers know that Washburn Law Clinic students can "hit the ground running" because they have already learned to interact with clients; draft correspondence, pleadings and motions; negotiate with opposing counsel; and appear in court. Employers can count on clinic students to understand the importance of keeping accurate time records, managing multiple responsibilities, and meeting deadlines. In addition to these "hard" skills, clinic students learn "soft" skills such as interacting with supervising attorneys, office staff, and managing time. In short, clinic students can confidently tell employers they have practiced law before they even graduated from law school.
“Clinic has been a great experience. It has given me the chance to practice what I have learned so far. It has also given me the opportunity to work with wonderful people who really want to see you succeed. Without a doubt, Clinic has been the best educational experience I have had. I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone.”
— Clay A. Kuhns, Class of 2014
Beginning Fall 2014, after students enroll in clinic, they will elect to take clinic for either a grade or credit/no credit. Students will have until the end of the first week of classes to change this election. Students must NOT inform the Law Clinic faculty or staff of their choice.
Students enrolled in summer clinic may also take one 3-credit course or one 4-credit course, as well as one 1-credit course, each 6 week session. Because the summer clinic course spans both sessions, clinic hours (either 4 or 5 credits) are not allocated or divided between the first and second summer sessions.
“The Clinic has taken the laws and concepts we are taught in the classroom and gives us the tools to apply them to real life. No longer do I deal with a former petitioner against a former respondent. Now, I am helping a real person with a real history that might not otherwise have the means to get help with their problems. For me, the clinic has taken the abstract and brought it to reality.”
— Sara Ehret, Class of 2014