Course Information

Course Description: Law and Religion Clinic

  • Taught by Steven Collis
  • 6 credits (pass/fail) — offered Fall, Spring (starting Spring 2021)
  • The Clinic is open to students who have completed their first two semesters

Students in the Law & Religion Clinic represent vulnerable 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. And 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. Under the direction of clinic faculty, students will have the opportunity to be first chair on some matters or serve as co-counsel with various civil rights organizations and law firms on others. 

Through that work, they will develop lawyering skills they can apply in nearly any type of legal practice they pursue, including analyzing potential cases, client interviewing, fact investigation, representing and advising organizations, negotiation, drafting pleadings, dealing with opposing counsel, discovery and depositions, trial advocacy, and appellate work.

Students will work on cases in teams and will meet with Professor Collis as a group twice a week: once to discuss their cases and once in a classroom seminar where they will learn the substance and complexities of religion law. They will also have one-on-one sessions with Professor Collis to discuss how their lawyering skills are progressing and to counsel on other issues.  

The clinic is offered in the fall and spring, for six (6) credits, pass/fail. The Clinic is open to students who have completed their first two semesters. Students should expect to devote an average of 10 hours per week for casework and seminar preparation. You can find a broader description of the clinic and the Bech-Loughlin First Amendment Center here.