Civil Legal Clinic
For Prospective Students…
What is the Civil Legal Clinic?
The Civil Legal Clinic operates as a public interest law firm located within the University of Mississippi School of Law. It is comprised of three on-site clinics and two/three off-site clinics, all of which are staffed by student attorneys under faculty supervision. Clinic students learn vital lawyering skills by representing real clients facing real challenges.
What do Clinic students do?
Each clinic at the University of Mississippi School of Law incorporates casework, individual supervision and classroom seminars to provide a comprehensive, hands-on experience.
What types of cases do Clinic students work on?
The Civil Legal Clinic currently offers courses in the areas of Child Advocacy, Housing Law and Community and Economic Development.
Students enrolled in the Child Advocacy Clinic serve court-involved children of northern Mississippi by representing their best interests as guardians ad litem, particularly in cases where there are allegations of abuse and neglect. As guardians ad litem, students are appointed by the Chancery Court to investigate allegations of child neglect and abuse, make written recommendations regarding children’s best interests and present their findings in court hearings.
Students enrolled in the Housing Clinic assist individuals and families facing conflict with their landlords, eviction and foreclosure. Furthermore, students assist clients in the struggle to eliminate housing discrimination and promote affordable, safe and decent housing. Acting as lead attorneys on their cases, students are responsible for each legal function associated with bringing and defending cases, negotiation and advice and counsel. Students will interview clients, prepare witnesses, draft motions and pleadings and participate in court proceedings.
Students enrolled in the Transactional Clinic provide free legal assistance to low-income entrepreneurs and non-profit or community organizations seeking to improve the wellbeing of disadvantaged or underserved communities in Mississippi. Under the supervision of experienced faculty, students handle matters involving entity formation, contract negotiation and preparation, corporate and commercial financing, shareholder agreements, business acquisitions, commercial leasing, licensing, trademark and copyright advice, tax exempt applications and various other types of business-related transactional legal work. This Clinic has worked conjunction with Harvard Law School’s Mississippi Delta Project.
Students enrolled in the Elder Law Clinic work to enhance, protect and preserve the autonomy of older persons through direct legal services. Students may provide a number of services to their clients, including drafting wills, preparing health care directives and powers of attorney, advising clients on nursing home and Medicaid regulations, and counseling on legal issues at various meal centers and assisted living establishments. This Clinic is supervised by the director of the Elder Law Project at North Mississippi Rural Legal Services.
Students enrolled in the Street Law Clinic provide opportunities for Oxford and North Mississippi community members to learn about their legal rights and responsibilities, as well as legal issues that impact their daily lives. Students travel weekly to the Oxford Food Pantry, where they interview and counsel clients regarding public benefits, housing, family law, consumer law, property, wills and other civil issues. This Clinic is supervised by the managing attorney at North Mississippi Legal Services.
Who will my clients be?
Generally, the Clinic’s client population varies by practice area. All clinics represent individuals and groups who would not otherwise be able to obtain counsel. Clients are identified through various agencies including North Mississippi Rural Legal Services, Oxford Food Pantry, North Mississippi Chancery Courts and others. Individuals also contact the Clinic through an intake line, where they may request legal advice and assistance.
What kinds of experiences will I have?
Students enrolled in the Civil Legal Clinic function as lead attorneys in their assigned cases, taking full responsibility for all facets of their clients’ legal matters. In classroom seminars, students are able to combine their on-the-ground practice with professional training and substantive law. Actual clinical experiences vary by practice area and clients’ needs.
Who may enroll in a Clinic?
The Clinic is open to all second and third year students. Because registration is competitive and spaces are limited, first priority is given to students who demonstrate the most interest, and second priority is given to graduating third year students, who may be sworn into practice under Mississippi’s Limited Practice Act.
How much of a time commitment is the Civil Legal Clinic?
Student attorneys are required to put in the time needed to provide high-quality legal representation for our clients. Clinic students are expected to devote a minimum of 90 to 150 hours to casework per semester; however, the number of hours a student actually works could be significantly more. Students are also in charge of staffing the Clinic’s phone intake line.
How many credits will I get for being in Clinic?
Students may receive 3-5 credit hours, depending on the clinic in which they are enrolled.
How are grades determined?
Students are evaluated based on participation in classroom seminars and related exercises, quality of representation provided to clients, and overall reliability and professionalism.
Who teaches the Clinic seminars and supervises the student attorneys?
Each clinical course is taught and supervised by highly skilled clinical or adjunct faculty members who are experienced, respected experts in their fields.
How do I apply to Clinic?
To apply, fill out a registration form and submit a brief statement of interest. You can apply for either the fall or spring semester. Registration forms typically become available early in the spring semester each year. Students are encouraged to check the Civil Legal Clinic website regularly for specific instructions and deadlines.
For Prospective Clients…
What types of legal issues can the Civil Legal Clinic help me with?
If you are a low-income individual dealing with a problem related to housing, personal income tax, public benefits, or child welfare, you should contact the Clinic. Additionally, if you are experiencing issues related to the needs of an elderly person or vulnerable adult, you may seek the Clinic’s assistance.
How do I contact the Clinic for legal services?
To apply for legal services or to make an appointment to visit with an attorney, you can call the intake/appointment line at: 662-915-7429. If there is no answer, please leave a message and your call will be returned.
Does the Clinic accept walk-in clients?
The Clinic does not encourage walk-ins, as we want to ensure that we have the appropriate time and resources to devote to each prospective client.
If I contact the Civil Legal Clinic, am I guaranteed a lawyer?
Due to limited resources, the Clinic cannot accept as a client everyone who seeks our help. Clinic staff will review each request for assistance, screen for eligibility and determine the appropriate response which may include legal information, advocacy, individual representation or referral elsewhere.
How much do the Clinic’s legal services cost?
The Clinic’s services are designed to be provided on a no-fee basis. As a result, the Clinic typically restricts its services to those who are unable to afford legal representation.
Who provides the Clinic’s legal services?
Civil Legal Clinic clients are represented by student attorneys. All aspects of their cases are supervised by expert clinical faculty and experienced attorneys.