Clinic and Internship Information for Spring 2021
Texas Law has a large and vibrant clinical program, and most students participate in our many clinics and internships. Students gain great first-hand experience as they work on real-world issues. They learn to integrate skills, theory, strategy, and law, building a bridge between the classroom and the practice of law.
Don’t know where to start? Look at the Eligibility and Enrollment Charts and the brief clinic and internship descriptions below.
If you missed the drop-in sessions, email the faculty instructors or send your questions to ClinicalEd@law.utexas.edu.
Scroll down for links to our 15 clinics and 8 internships accepting students for the spring of 2021.
Spring 2021 Clinics
Students screen and investigate claims by inmates that they are actually innocent of the offenses for which they are incarcerated. While investigating cases, students typically interview witnesses, research cases, review trial transcripts, and visit inmates in prison. The weekly class addresses topics relevant to actual innocence law and procedure.
Students work closely with experienced attorneys in the representation of indigent defendants charged with or convicted of capital offenses. Cases are at the trial, appellate, and post-conviction stages of litigation. Students perform tasks integral to effective representation, including: visiting clients, interviewing witnesses, conducting investigations, drafting pleadings, and assisting with preparation for trials, evidentiary hearings, and appellate arguments.
Students represent children in Travis County District Court as student attorneys ad litem in cases in which the state seeks custody or termination of parental rights based on allegations of abuse and neglect. Although the supervising attorneys sign pleadings drafted by the student and accompany the student to formal proceedings, the student attorneys sit “first chair” at hearings, depositions, mediations and trial appearances, and they research and prepare cases as the primary attorneys.
Students in the Civil Rights Clinic represent low-income clients in a range of civil rights matters such as discrimination in housing, employment or public accommodations, prisoners’ rights, or freedom of religion, speech and association. Working under faculty supervision, students will directly participate in civil rights litigation and advocacy. Students hone their lawyering skills, including client and witness interviewing and counseling, fact investigation and analysis, negotiation, drafting pleadings and motions, and trial advocacy. Students work on their cases in teams under the supervision of clinic faculty, with whom they meet weekly.
Students represent indigent defendants charged with misdemeanors in Travis County. Typical offenses include DWI, theft, assault, and drug possession. Students function as the "first chair" attorneys, with the supervising attorneys sitting as "second chair" during court proceedings. Students arrange jail releases, interview clients and witnesses, litigate pretrial issues, negotiate with prosecutors, and try cases to judges and juries. For appeals, students review transcripts, write briefs, and present oral arguments.
Students represent victims of domestic violence with a variety of civil legal problems including custody, divorce, visitation, housing, consumer, public assistance and procurement of protective orders. Students sit “first chair,” and are responsible for all tasks associated with their cases. They meet with clients, draft pleadings, interview witnesses, draft and respond to discovery, take depositions, negotiate settlements, and conduct trials.
Students provide transactional business law representation to entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, and community groups. Clinic clients strengthen their local communities by producing and preserving affordable housing, creating asset-building strategies for low-income individuals, and providing valuable goods and services. Typical legal matters involved include a choice of entity counseling, formation of for-profit and nonprofit entities, assistance with federal tax-exempt status, contract review and drafting, real estate work, trademark and copyright work, employment law counseling, and general counsel services for nonprofit boards of directors. The Clinic also offers a policy focus through which students work with community groups to develop local and statewide policy solutions to community development issues.
Students work on cases and projects to improve public health and environmental quality for low-income communities. Students are responsible for all aspects of client representation, including factual investigation, meeting with public and private officials, developing strategy, research and writing, advocacy in contested permit proceedings and public meetings, and client communication. The Clinic works closely with outside attorneys, government and elected officials, and community leaders.
Students represent low-income families in their housing-related legal problems. The primary focus is helping clients avoid homelessness and gain access to affordable housing. Clinic work often involves representing clients in threatened evictions, denials of public housing, subsidized housing and Section 8 housing, and other aspects of landlord-tenant law. Some opportunity also exists for real estate related work for individuals and community-based non-profit groups. Students interview clients, investigate cases, research issues, negotiate with opposing parties, draft pleadings and discovery, and represent clients in administrative hearings and in court. The Clinic is based at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.
Students work on a range of human rights projects and cases from the advocate’s perspective. The work handled by the Clinic illustrates the breadth of human rights practice, including fact-finding, research, press and other public advocacy. The Clinic develops both theoretical and practical skills by involving students in activities such as supporting litigation of human rights claims; investigating and documenting human rights violations; supporting advocacy initiatives before human rights bodies; and engaging with global and local human rights campaigns.
Students represent low-income immigrants before the immigration courts, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the federal courts. Cases include bond and deportation hearings, asylum applications, Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) cases, and applications for discretionary relief. Students engage in the full range of lawyering activities including: interviewing clients, developing strategy, preparing witnesses, and presenting cases before the courts and the immigration agency.
Students serve as student attorneys with the Travis County Juvenile Public Defender. Clients are indigent juveniles, aged 10 to 17, charged with criminal offenses ranging from Class B misdemeanors to first-degree felonies. Students learn juvenile law, interact with clients, advocate in court proceedings, and educate children about the law. Students have primary responsibility for cases under the supervision of experienced attorneys in the public defender's office, performing all investigation, interviews, discovery, negotiation and litigation functions on their cases. The Clinic is based at the Travis County Juvenile Public Defender.
Students participate in representing individuals and groups of all faiths who face challenges to their religious liberty. This will involve a diverse array of clients: prisoners, mosques, students, employees, churches, teachers, faith-based schools, sanctuary churches, and immigrants. Students can expect to work on cases involving the Free Exercise Clause, the Establishment Clause, similar state constitutional provisions, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, its state equivalents, antidiscrimination statutes, Title VII, and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. Students will have the opportunity to be first chair on some matters or serve as co-counsel with faculty or outside civil rights organizations and law firms on others.
Students work closely with faculty members on cases before the United States Supreme Court. Students assist in representing clients who are seeking review of lower court decisions or who have cases before the Supreme Court following grants of certiorari. Students conduct in-depth research and draft pleadings such as petitions for certiorari, briefs in opposition, reply briefs, and merits briefs. The weekly class introduces students to Supreme Court procedures and practice.
Students represent low-income immigrant workers in cases to recover unpaid wages, and engage in other advocacy projects asserting the rights of workers here and abroad. Depending on the case, students participate in worker education meetings, interview and advise clients, investigate facts, develop strategy, negotiate with opposing parties, research issues, prepare legal documents, and represent clients in litigation, administrative matters, community-based enforcement actions, and claims filed for criminal prosecution on wage fraud charges. Students help their clients acquire the knowledge and skills to protect their own employment rights, while grounding their representation efforts in the broader context of transnational and international labor rights advocacy. The Clinic is based at the Equal Justice Center.
Spring 2021 Internships
Students work closely with experienced attorneys in government agencies, gaining experience that the students reflect upon in class. The course addresses topics relevant to public service lawyering such as professionalism, ethics, advocacy, access to justice, and the legal profession. Interns develop their professional skills and study the role of lawyers and legal institutions in the context of real-world practice. The instructor consults with each student to develop a field placement.
Students learn about judicial decision-making and hone their analytical, research and writing skills by interning with courts. Typically, students research legal issues relating to pending matters and draft opinions and memoranda under the close supervision of judges, their law clerks and staff attorneys. Students also observe court proceedings and learn about court procedure and legal advocacy.
Interns study the legislative process by working on legal issues under the supervision of experienced attorneys in offices connected to the Texas Legislature. Students learn about the role of lawyers in the operations and processes of governing, build key professional skills, and gain insight into the intersection of law and policy. The instructor consults with each student to develop a field placement.
Students work closely with experienced attorneys in nonprofit organizations, gaining experience that the students reflect upon in class. The course addresses topics relevant to public service lawyering such as professionalism, ethics, advocacy, and access to justice. Interns develop their professional skills and study the role of lawyers and legal institutions in the context of real-world practice. The instructor consults with each student to develop a field placement.
Students explore the substantive law and legal issues commonly encountered in criminal prosecutions and learn about the unique duties and responsibilities of a criminal prosecutor as both an advocate and a minister of justice. Each student is assigned to a Travis County trial court and is supervised by the Assistant District Attorneys assigned to the court. Students experience all aspects of the day-to-day functions of the prosecutors, and some students may have the opportunity to participate in courtroom proceedings.
Students work full-time under the supervision of experienced attorneys in government, nonprofit and legislative offices outside of the Austin area. Interns immerse themselves in practice, developing their professional skills and studying the role of lawyers and legal institutions. The course addresses topics relevant to public service lawyering in varied settings, including professionalism, ethics, advocacy, access to justice, and the intersection of law and policy. Each student consults with the instructor to arrange a field placement.