Clinic News

KBA Criminal Law Reform - Third Annual Forum, November 7, Allen Courtroom

Moving Forward, Living Backward, or Just Standing Still? Theatre Production, Friday, Oct. 24, 7:00 p.m., Allen Courtroom

Law Clinic (CASE) Fellowship Applications Now Being Accepted!!

The CASE fellowship with the Brandeis School of Law is a paid fellowship that will run from July 2013 to May 2014, and involves representing low income domestic violence victims in custody cases in Jefferson Family Court.  All law students who have completed 60 hours are eligible to apply.  A limited license to practice law is required.  Each student will work at least 10 hours/week at $8.50/hour.

The experience you will gain from practicing law and representing clients in court will set you apart from your classmates no matter what area of law you want to practice when you graduate.  Don't let this opportunity pass you by!

To apply, send an unofficial transcript, resume and cover letter to Professor Shelley Santry at shelley.santry@louisville.edu by  April  5, at 5pm.

Law School Receives $1 Million for Clinic

The University of Louisville’s Louis D. Brandeis School of Law has received a bequest of about $1 million to permanently endow a student-run law clinic.

The gift is believed to be the largest in the school’s history.

The clinic matches law students with impoverished clients who need legal representation and advice. Since its inception in 2009, the clinic has handled more than 500 cases and works closely with the Legal Aid Society, which is housed in the same building.

Sue Ellen Ackerson of Louisville and her family made the gift to honor Robert Ackerson, her late husband, who founded Ackerson and Yann law firm. The clinic is being renamed The Robert and Sue Ellen Ackerson Law Clinic.

“This gift is truly powerful because it helps some of the most underserved people in our community,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “We are grateful to the Ackersons for ensuring that the law clinic will be funded well into the future.”

Ackerson is a 1955 UofL College of Business graduate. Her husband, a 1958 law school graduate, died in 2008.

“We wanted to do something to help both the law school and the community as well as show both Bob’s and my appreciation for all the university has meant to our family,” she said. “The clinic was a perfect fit.”

Source: "Brandeis School of Law receives $1 million for clinic" (UofL Today, December 21)

 

Entrepreneurship Clinic Info Session

The Entrepreneurship Clinic is hosting an information meeting for all students on Wednesday, April 11, at noon in Room 177. The Clinic Director, Professor Mike Slaven and a panel of students currently participating in the Clinic will be present to discuss clinic activities, to share their experiences and to answer your questions. Lunch will be provided. Come and learn about what the Entrepreneurship Clinic is all about and enjoy some food!

Last Chance to Apply for New Research Fellowship

The Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville seeks a second- or third-year law student to conduct an analysis/comparison of existing local court rules related to family matters across the state.  The local rules in some jurisdictions are available online; others must be obtained from the local courts.  The analysis will compare rules in each section of practice (DNA, custody/visitation, domestic violence, etc.) with each other and with new unified family court rules of procedure and practice that have been submitted to the Supreme Court of Kentucky for approval. 

Funding for 400 hours at $10/hour, to be completed by 3/31/12, has been approved.  Similar funding may be available the subsequent year to do a similar analysis of new local rules which jurisdictions will revise to conform to the new unified family court rules.

To apply:  Send a resume, transcript and writing sample to Professor Shelley Santry by Wednesday, May 11

Paid Fellowships with the Law School

Last year, in a partnership with the Legal Aid Society and the Center for Women and Families, the Law Clinic received a grant from the US Department of Justice to represent domestic violence victims in custody cases.  As part of the grant, law students receive paid fellowships to do the work in court under the supervision of an attorney. 

Students who have completed a 4-credit course in the Law Clinic have said that gaining experience in the courtroom was the most valuable part of their law school career.  Rather than receiving course credit, students who participate in this fellowship work in the Clinic on a part-time basis and are paid.

Want to learn more?

Professor Shelley Santry and Attorney Bethanni Forbush-Moss will hold an information session on the CASE fellowship with the Brandeis School of Law.  This paid fellowship will run from May 2011 to May 2012 and involves representing domestic violence victims in custody cases in Jefferson Family Court.  All law students who have completed 60 hours are eligible to apply.  A limited license to practice law is required, and the forms are available in the Associate Dean's office. 

Your experience practicing law and representing clients in court will set you far apart from your classmates no matter what type of law you want to practice when you graduate.  Don't let this opportunity pass you by!

Come hear all about it tomorrow, April 19, in room 171 at noon.

LAW CLINIC FELLOWSHIP

Professor Shelley Santry and Attorney Bethanni Forbush-Moss will hold an information session on the CASE fellowship with the Brandeis School of Law.  This paid fellowship will run from May 2011 to May 2012 and involves representing domestic violence victims in custody cases in Jefferson Family Court.  All law students who have completed 60 hours are eligible to apply.  A limited license to practice law is required. 

The experience you will gain from practicing law and representing clients in court will set you apart from your classmates no matter what type of law you want to practice when you graduate.  Don't let this opportunity pass you by!

Come hear all about it next Tuesday, April 19, in room 171 at noon.

Spotlight on Louisville Law Clinic

In the midst of a court fight with his landlord over an eviction notice, Tom Rankin asked
Jefferson District Court Judge Donald Armstrong if he needed a lawyer.

“It wouldn't hurt,” the judge responded, and on heir way out of the courtroom, Rankin was
approached by a representative of Legal Aid, which provides free legal help to people of
limited income, who said she could refer them to an attorney.

Well, he wasn't actually an “attorney,” officially speaking.

The Rankins were referred to the University of Louisville Law Clinic, where they met with Blake Nolan, a third-year law student, one of eight allowed to practice law last semester at the clinic on Muhammad Ali Boulevard, gaining experience while reaching out to an underserved population.

Nolan had never handled an eviction case, “But he was good,” Rankin said, and worked out an agreement with the landlord that led to the case being dismissed.

“He knew what he was doing,” Rankin said. “I was really impressed with the way he handled everything. … I really don't think I could have done it without him.”

Nolan was participating in a program launched in July 2009 that so far has allowed 25 U of L law students to help nearly 300 clients at no charge in Jefferson County Family and District courts — including 187 victims of domestic violence and their children seeking protective orders.

And the clinic is growing, with a record 15 students enrolled for the semester that began this month.

The clinic is primarily funded by gifts to the university and if the students take the clinic as a course, it is part of their law school tuition and fees. They must have at least 60 credit hours to sign up for the clinic, and receive four credits for their participation. They are able to work as practicing student attorneys through a limited license granted by the Kentucky Supreme Court, and only with supervision. In October, the Center for Women and Families, the Legal Aid Society and Law Clinic received a combined $438,000 in grant money to represent victims of domestic violence, allowing, in part, the funding of four more student attorneys and an additional part-time attorney to supervise them.

Shelley Santry, a U of L law professor and former prosecutor who heads the clinic, said the student attorneys funded by the new grant –— the clinic's share is $110,000 — will focus on custody cases for unmarried, low-income victims of domestic violence.

Many of those victims are unable to afford an attorney, and “No one does those kind of cases pro bono now,” she said. “Custody disputes are difficult, time consuming and often emotional.”

Santry said many schools across the country have long had similar clinics, which allow students who have had two years of learning through courses to “apply what they have learned to real people with real problems.”

“Our nurses,doctors and teachers all practice before they go into the real world,” she said. “Our lawyers don't. They graduate and they're like, ‘Where's the courthouse?' You just can't beat learning by doing in my opinion.”

Nolan, who has handled about 10 cases and will be back this semester at the clinic, agreed. “There's nothing better than getting some real world experience in a courtroom and in front of a judge,” he said.

It's also nice to be able to help people in need, said Julie Purcell, a 25-year-old rdthird-year student from Louisville who in December helped an elderly woman who was being evicted because the rent money she had given to a family member never made it to her landlord.

“It's just awesome,” said Purcell, who has handled about 20 cases, and was able to have the case dismissed, got Adult Protective Services involved and saw the woman moved into new housing.“We're able to learn so much, but at the same time provide a service to people that otherwise wouldn't get it.”

Chief Family Court Judge Patricia Walker FitzGerald said she regularly sees the student attorneys in her courtroom, usually in domestic-violence cases, and has found them to be well-prepared, asking good questions and “doing an excellent job” in often difficult cases.

“They've really stepped up to the plate to do a much needed service,” she said.

And alumni of the program are turning up as prosecutors and public defenders, and several have opened their own firms.

“Most people will graduate without ever having been in a real courtroom in front of a judge,” said Heend Sheth, who graduated in May and is a prosecutor with the Jefferson County Attorney's Office. “… And at the end of the day, you are helping people. You really do get to see your skills manifest in someone else's changed circumstances.”

Reporter Jason Riley can be reached at (502) 584-2197.

Reprinted with permission.

Source: "Louisville law students gain experience, help underserved through free clinic", by Jason Riley (Courier-Journal, January 23, 2011)

 

Interested in the Law Clinic? Apply!

The Law Clinic is a law firm run by third-year law students who gain practical experience in the courtroom by representing real clients in Jefferson Family and District Courts.  From initial intake interview through conclusion of the case, the students are the primary contact with clients for all matters handled by the clinic. Student attorneys represent victims of domestic violence in EPO hearings and tenants in Forcible Detainer (eviction) Court under the supervision of Professor Shelley Santry, director of the Clinic.

Clinic is a four-hour course that is a really great experience.  Most clinic students say it is their favorite part of law school.  It gives students a chance to actually practice law and it looks huge on a resume!

If you are interested in participating in the Law Clinic next semester, send a resume and short statement of interest to Professor Santry at shelley.santry@louisville.edu.  Any questions should be directed to her as well. 

Students must have completed 60 hours by the end of this semester to qualify for a limited license to practice law under Supreme Court Rule 2.540.