About the Litigation Externship Clinic
Wake Forest School of Law’s Litigation Externship Clinic is our oldest and largest clinic. It is a 5 or 6 hour, graded course that accommodates 25 students per semester. It incorporates the full range of the practice of law. We are the only program in the country that requires each clinic student to have concurrent civil and criminal law placements. These dual placements allow students to confront not only issues of property and money but life and liberty, which provides them with a unique skill set and a much broader perspective on the practice of law.
The experiences offered by our clinic can be truly extraordinary. Students have traveled with in-house counsel to out-of-state trials via corporate jets. They’ve visited clients on death row to deliver the awful news that their client’s chance for an eleventh hour pardon from the governor was denied. They’ve argued major cases in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. They’ve tried countless misdemeanor bench trials as well as many jury trials in state court. And this is but a sampling of some of the exciting things they’ve done.
Our clinic enjoys tremendous support from the local bench and bar. Literally hundreds of local lawyers and judges have participated in our clinic over the years as supervising attorneys and judicial mentors. A standing committee of the Forsyth County Bar Association is available to advise us about potential mentors.
Before the semester begins, Professor Carol Anderson personally interviews each incoming student to determine which placements best suit their interests and abilities. Clinic students work in their civil placements for an entire semester and the criminal, for 6 weeks. The only exception to dual placements is the U. S. Attorney’s Office, where students work the entire semester on both criminal and civil matters. Please click the tab entitled PLACEMENTS for a listing and descriptions of the many possibilities.
In addition to their field experiences, Clinic students attend a weekly 2-hour class that covers the following topics: state district criminal court practice, interviewing and counseling, conducting jury focus groups, taking depositions, and examining expert witnesses. Other topics are sometimes added to accommodate student interests or to feature outstanding guest speakers.
Each Clinic student submits confidential written reflections each week. Professor Anderson reads the reflections and returns them with her written comments, which helps her track student progress and maintain a private dialogue with each student.
Our Clinic operates under the North Carolina State Bar’s Rules Governing Practical Training of Law Students. Students must be in good standing and have completed three semesters of law school in order to enroll. Evidence is a prerequisite. Trial Practice must be taken either before or concurrently with Clinic.