In 1998, the Municipal Law Clinic was created by the Office of General Counsel.
Through cooperative arrangements with various law schools, second and third year law students work at the Office of General Counsel for credit toward their law degrees.
Students experience a challenging, structured approach to multiple areas of the practice of law. Students can assist in and observe matters in state and federal courts, and before the City Council and numerous boards and commissions. In return, the City benefits from the legal services provided by clinic participants to the City at no cost. In past years, students in the Municipal Law Clinic Program billed approximately $400,000 in legal services at no cost to the clients or taxpayers.
The program of the Municipal Law Clinic is designed to place participants in an organized program of a formal training with an emphasis on observation, research and writing. Applicants are assigned to rotate between/among one of the Deputy General Counsels from one of the five departments (Legislative Affairs Department, Regulatory & Constitutional Law Department, Government Operations Department, General Litigation Department, Tort & Employment Department) in the Office of General Counsel. Under the supervision of department attorneys, law students will obtain valuable training in diverse areas of law.
The participants will attend governmental, litigation and administrative meetings and hearings. Interns may be certified by the Supreme Court to expand the opportunity available to practice law under the supervision of a practicing attorney. Additional exposure to other aspects of municipal government and civil practice is facilitated by the Program Directors. Students are required to commit at least 30 hours per week to satisfy the program’s requirements. Student’s individual law schools may have other requirements for them to participate in the program. These requirements must also be met.
Students are given both billable and nonbillable assignments. Although their legal services are provided to clients at no expense, students are required to keep track of their time and bill for work performed. At the conclusion of their time in the program, students are provided a report showing the billable and nonbillable work performed for the office.
After the clinic program is completed, students are evaluated by the Program Directors and the results are forwarded to the law school. Students are asked to complete a program evaluation to help improve Clinic services and training for future classes.
Types of activities:
- Attend City Council meetings
- Attend depositions
- Attend arbitrations
- Attend mediations
- Attend State Court hearings
- Attend Federal Court hearings
- Attend Administrative hearings
- Various Boards and Commissions meetings
- Researching and writing legal memoranda
- Drafting pleadings
- Responding to discovery