Clinics: Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why Should You Participate in the Clinical Program?
  • Clinical legal education at King Hall complements the course work that constitutes the majority of your educational experience.  Through direct work on clients’ cases, you can gain a deeper understanding of the substantive law, develop skills, gain insights into the operation of our society's institutions, appreciate how and when you can be an advocate for change, and generally develop a sense of what career path you would like to follow.

    The UC Davis Clinical Program is an integral part of the law school curriculum. It aims to include:
      •  To provide the skills training that comes from representing individuals and organizations in a live-client setting.
      •  To provide training in specialized areas of the law of interest to students.
      •  To contextualize legal ethics and professional responsibility by placing students at the center of their clients’ lived realities.
      •  To provide a law-in-action approach to the related in-class training that students obtain from their classroom experience.
      •  To bring our students’ critical perspective to bear on the day-to-day issues of the legal process.  
      •  To keep enthusiasm for the practice of law alive.
      •  To aid career development plans through the work experience and relationships built in the clinical setting.
      •  To aid clients (generally low-income) by adding the ability and enthusiasm of our students to the better resolution of problems.
      •  To aid practitioners and law-related offices by exposure to the fresh ideas from our students.
      •  To provide useful additional stateside and national exposure to King Hall.
  • What Areas of Law Do the Clinics Cover?
  • The Clinical Program has five clinics that offer students practice opportunities in the areas of immigration law, civil rights, family law, criminal law and water justice. Students will represent clients during all aspects of a legal case. Students will have the opportunity to interview and counsel clients, write legal briefs, memos, motions on behalf of clients, engage in discovery and other pre-trial activities, and advocate for their clients’ interests in legal and policy forums.
  • When Can You Enroll in a Clinic?
  • You may enroll in a clinic in your second or third year of law school.
  • What Are the Guidelines for Enrolling in a Clinic?
  • The Clinics are graded courses with a classroom component and are considered electives. You may take as many clinics as you would like consecutively. 

    Students may take an advanced clinic if it is being offered. Students in an advanced clinic will perform more advanced and different work than that conducted in the initial enrollment of the course. It is clinic policy that students enrolled in a clinic may not be concurrently enrolled in an externship.
  • What Are the Unit Guidelines for the Clinics?
  • Each of the clinics in the Clinical Program has its own credit guidelines. The Civil Rights clinic offers variable credits ranging from two to six credits a semester. The Immigration Law Clinic and Family Protection Legal Assistance Clinics are year-long courses offering four credits each semester. The Water Justice Clinic is a one-semester clinic which may be enrolled in for 3 to 5 units. Students may choose to continue for a second semester in the Advanced Water Justice Clinic, also a 3 to 5 unit course. The Aoki Criminal Justice Practicum is a 3 unit course.

    Please check the application for individual clinic prerequisites and priority information.
      •  The Aoki Criminal Justice Practicum is limited to 10 students.
      •  Civil Rights is limited to 12 students.
      •  Immigration Law is limited to 24 students.
      •  Aoki Federal Defender Clinic is limited to 6 students.
  • How Can You Maximize Your Clinical Experience?
  •   1.  Plan your schedule and expect to spend 15-20 hours per week on clinic work.
      2.  Think about your goals for the Clinical.
      3.  Examine all the data available to choose a placement of interest to you. Talk with the Clinical Directors and to any students previously placed in the Clinic of interest to you.
      4.  Schedule your clinical time in at least four-hour blocks.
      5.  Study the Code of Professional Responsibility (which you must certify to having read under State Bar Rules).
      6.  Remember that the attorney-client relationship of which you are now a part is a confidential one.
      7.  Make a good impression from the very beginning but know your limitations. Work hard, but don't take on anything that you're not sure you can handle.
      8.  Do not hesitate to ask questions no matter how simple.
      9.  Use your initiative to get what you want from your clinical experience.
      10.  Maintain an open-minded objective critical learning state of mind throughout your clinical experience.