Practical Lawyering Skills
595: Community Law Center Clinic I
The Community Law Center Clinic (LUCLC) course is designed to teach students the essential skills involved in the practice of law, including client interviewing and counseling, hearing advocacy, negotiation and practice management. These skills are taught in conjunction with the representation by students of clients in civil cases under the supervision of Professor Theresa Ceko and the law school's clinical faculty. The Law Center is located in Room 1005 of the law school.
Students who enroll in the clinic course must be available to be in the clinic either one morning or one afternoon each week (Monday-Friday). The course also has a classroom component that meets each Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m. The purpose of the classroom component is to provide students with a theoretical overview of the lawyering skills that they perform at the clinic. In addition to regular clinic hours and classroom work, clinic students work on their cases during an additional 6 hours a week, most of this work done on the student's own time. Any student who has completed the first year of law school can enroll in the clinic course.
Students in the LUCLC represent children in contested guardianship cases and clients in civil cases involving landlord/tenant, family and elder law problems. Many of LUCLC's clients are low income persons. Serving persons who cannot afford legal services sensitizes students to the special ways that the law affects the lives of the indigent.
Another important aspect of the LUCLC course is the opportunity for students to develop their own sense of the lawyer's professional role. Students experience the complexity of the attorney-client relationship and the myriad ethical dimensions of lawyering. Students are exposed for the first time to the conflicts, frustrations and rewards inherent in legal practice.
Enrollment in the Community Law Center Clinic course also helps students prepare for the performance tests that have been added to many state bar examinations, including Illinois. The skills that these performance tests measure are the same skills that students learn through their client representation.
The Community Law Center Clinic course is an excellent bridge from the law school classroom to the law office. It allows students to begin to learn how to practice law in a reflective environment. (Ceko)