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Lawyering Skills Enhancement Fund
Clinical and experiential legal education is a growing part of the curriculum at Nebraska Law. Through these programs, students learn hands-on skills that, combined with the rigorous education in their doctrinal classes, prepare them to practice law when they graduate. A gift to this fund supports the improvement and expansion of these programs.
Students at the College of Law engage in experiential learning from the time they enter as 1Ls, beginning with Foundational Legal Skills – a 1L course emphasizing legal research, writing, and professional skills – and culminating in clinical experiences. The College offers 4 live-client clinics available to 3L students: Civil Practice Clinic; Immigration Clinic; Criminal Clinic; and, Entrepreneurship Clinic. In each of the clinics, third-year students practice law under the supervision and instruction of a faculty member.
The College's newest clinic, the Entrepreneurship Clinic, opened its doors in January 2013. Clinic students advise and represent startup business clients in a variety of early-stage legal matters, including entity formation, contract drafting and review, intellectual property protection, real estate, financing, regulatory, compliance and other transactional matters. Students develop practical skills necessary for the effective practice of transactional law, gain an understanding of entrepreneurs as clients, learn about the interplay of legal, ethical and practical considerations that are required to effectively advise clients, and develop relationships with individuals and organizations in Nebraska¹s entrepreneurship community.
Established in 1975, the Civil Practice Clinic is led by Professor Kevin Ruser. Under his supervision, clinic students represent low-income clients in a wide variety of civil and administrative cases selected for potential litigation and trial experience and maximum pedagogical benefit. Students' caseloads are designed to approximate the types of matters they might handle as new lawyers in a variety of practice settings. Depending on the clients' needs and the nature of the cases, students will interview clients, file pleadings, conduct informal and formal discovery, try cases, and argue appeals.
The Criminal Clinic was established in 1979 and is one of the few prosecution Clinics in the country. Because the Clinic carries the burden of proof in all its cases, Criminal Clinic students gain insight into the legal and ethical responsibilities of both prosecutors and defense attorneys in criminal cases that will benefit students, regardless of the context in which they eventually practice law. Under the guidance of resident faculty, Clinic students prosecute misdemeanor and felony cases out of the Lancaster County Attorney's office. The focus of the Criminal Clinic is trial practice, with jury trials occurring frequently. Clinic students appear in court nearly every week during their time in the Clinic, and are lead counsel in all cases.
The Immigration Clinic was established in 1998 and allows students an in-depth, hands-on experience representing immigration clients before federal immigration agencies and courts. As in the other Clinics, students in the Immigration Clinic are lead counsel in all cases, and appear with and on behalf of clients during agency interviews or court proceedings. The types of cases handled are those typically presented by low-income immigrants, such as family-based immigrant matters, Violence Against Women Act cases, deportation defense, affirmative and defense asylum applications, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa cases.
In addition to the 4 live-client clinics, numerous experiential learning opportunities exist at the College. Courses such as Client Counseling, Business Planning, and Negotiations are a few of the available classes that emphasize hands-on skills in preparing students for practice.
Thank you for considering a gift to the Lawyering Skills Enhancement Fund to support clinical legal education and other experiential learning courses. If you have any questions, please contact the Law College's Director of Development Christine Truhe at 402-458-1156 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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