Clinical Program Academic Courses

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law offers academic credit for students enrolled in clinics.  Read more about the broad range of clinical opportunities here.  A student must competently complete 50 hours of relevant legal work for every 1 credit (P/F) awarded in a clinic. Most clinic placements require 100 or 150 hours of work in a semester (which equates to 7-10 hours of work per week) to receive 2 or 3 (P/F) credits. A student may earn up to 14 credits toward graduation from clinical placement work. This credit limitation does not include graded credit received for participation in the accompanying academic course.

Each clinic has a related class as its co- or prerequisite to study fundamental skills and to reflect upon the experience.  The following list shows curriculum offerings available on a regular basis; other courses may also be approved by the Director of the Clinical Program to satisfy the academic component for a clinic.  Four clinical courses meet the skills requirement for graduation:   Appellate Practice, Environmental Practice, Lawyering Skills Survey, and Mediation/Adv. Negotiation.

American Health Care System (Health Law Clinic)

The American Health Care System is designed to introduce law students to the medical personnel, institutions, and health care delivery systems that they will inevitably encounter while participating in a variety of types of actions, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers compensation, products liability, and age and disability discrimination. The course provides an introduction to the medical training, licensing, and peer review processes (including practical descriptions of the medical personnel hierarchy and the typical responsibilities of trainees and supervising physicians within the treatment team); a discussion of various common practice structures; a review of insurance and other healthcare financing structures (including fee for service, HMOs, and Medicare/Medicaid); and a summary of antitrust constraints on medical providers. This course also includes a policy-oriented discussion of the future of health care delivery and financing.  (3 credit hours)

Appellate Practice (Appellate Clinic)

An examination of the practical and procedural components of appellate litigation. Students will receive instruction regarding the legal principles and skills involved in appellate practice and, based on a real trial transcript, apply these lessons by researching potential issues, writing an appellate brief and presenting a mock oral argument. The course will meet twice a week: an all-class lecture on a weekday followed by a smaller evening section on a weeknight. This course is recommended, although not required, for students wishing to participate in the Traynor Moot Court Competition. This course satisfies the skills requirement. (3 credit hours)

Criminal Process (Criminal Clinic)

This year-long course includes lecture, discussion and problems to prepare students who are enrolled in the Criminal Clinic to handle criminal cases. It also explores the criminal justice system from various social science perspectives and the role of attorneys in that system. This course is open only to 3Ls who are concurrently enrolled in the year-long Criminal Clinic. PREREQUISITES: Evidence, Trial Advocacy. RECOMMENDED: Criminal Procedure.  (3 credit hours)

Directed Research (Arranged Clinic)

Directed research enables the student to pursue a depth of knowledge in a discrete subject tailored to the professional and intellectual interests of the student. Students who desire to explore a particular aspect of a subject regularly offered as a course in greater depth than course coverage would ordinarily permit or pursue a subject that is not available in a regularly offered course may do so through a directed research program. Supervision by a full-time member of the College of Law faculty is required, or by a full-time faculty member in cooperation with (1) an auxiliary faculty member, (2) a faculty member from another college at the University of Utah, or (3) a faculty member of another university.  Upon approval by the Director of the Clinical Program, students may complete a directed research project with a full-time faculty member to satisfy the academic component of an Arranged Clinic.  For more information about Directed Research, see the Student Handbook. (1 – 3 credit hours)

Disability Law (Disability Clinic)

Introduction to the rights of individuals with disabilities, with an emphasis on issues of nondiscrimination. The course will focus primarily on the Americans with Disabilities Act, but we will also address topics arising under other disability rights statutes, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Fair Housing Amendments Act. We will consider application of these statutes to a wide range of public and private settings, including public accommodations, education, institutionalization, and transportation. Throughout, attention will be paid to the history of discrimination against U.S. citizens with disabilities.  (3 credit hours)

Elder Law (Elder Law Clinic)

This course introduces students to the broad range of legal and policy issues and options affecting older persons. Topics covered include aging in America, special ethical issues when representing the elderly, age discrimination, public and private retirement plans, planning for incapacity, elder abuse, health care, housing, and end of life issues. Students must perform at least one half day of volunteer community service for the elderly. Evaluation of student performance is based on class participation, a drafting assignment, and a paper or project.  (2 credit hours)

Environmental Practice (Environmental Clinic)

This year-long course focuses on the practical, procedural and strategic aspects of practicing environmental and natural resources law through readings and simulated exercises.  The course uses exercises designed around environmental statutes, such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Community Right-to-Know Act, and CERCLA, to build and develop necessary practice skills. Exercises might include client counseling, witness interviewing, drafting administrative and citizen suit complaints, settlement negotiations and rulemaking practice.  Note:  This course is not a substitute for the substantive survey courses in environmental law or natural resources law. Registration is not limited to Environmental Clinic students, but preference is given to clinic students if space is limited. CO- or PREREQUISITES:  Administrative Law, Environmental Law OR Natural Resources. (2 credit hours)

Innocence Investigation and Post-Conviction Process (Innocence Clinic)

This two-semester course will cover post-conviction remedies, state and federal, including post-conviction motions and habeas corpus as well as judicial proceedings to prove actual innocence. Students will learn how to investigate cases of actual innocence using both forensic scientific evidence and other compelling evidence of innocence. The course will also provide students with a review of the criminal justice system from the innocence prospective. This course is open only to students registered for the Innocence Clinic or with instructor permission.  (2 credit hours)

International Practice (International Clinic)

This course includes an individualized reading plan to prepare for an International Clinic placement, periodic reflections upon placement experiences, and individualized research project and seminar-quality paper that relates to and arises out of the placement work.  The course will be conducted as an independent tutorial if only one student is enrolled in any one of the tracks, or as a web-based or video-linked course if sufficient numbers of students are enrolled in any one track or a combination of related International Clinic tracks:  International Humanitarian Law, International Environmental Law, or Rule of Law.  See the International Clinic description for further explanation.  (2 or 3 credit hours)

Judicial Process (Judicial Clinic)

Provides an opportunity for students to place their judicial clinic experiences in a broader context, and to explore their insights about courts in greater depth. The class looks at how judges make decisions by considering legal philosophy, brought to bear upon statutory, common law and constitutional interpretation. The course focuses on how judges are selected and how process affects decision-making. The course also considers how courts operate and current issues about the adversary process. CO- or PREREQUISITE: Law 7950 Judicial Clinic Placement. (2 credit hours)

Lawyering Skills Survey (Civil Clinic)

The basic lawyering skills of interviewing, counseling, negotiating and problem-solving will be taught using videotaped demonstrations, role-playing exercises, students videotaped performances, discussions and reflective writing. During the academic year students should arrange to observe/engage in these lawyering skills in actual practice in order to reflect upon them. Such opportunities can be obtained through paid clerkships, the Pro Bono Initiative or appropriate Clinics (Civil, Criminal, Mediation). This course satisfies the skills requirement.  (3 credit hours)

Legal Writing for Judicial Clerks and Interns (Judicial Clinic, co-requisite only)

This course provides students with significant experience researching, writing, and editing judicial opinions. It is designed for students who are interested in becoming judicial law clerks or judicial interns. It may also be of interest to students who plan an active trial or appellate practice.Topics may include: the trial and appellate process, the role of judicial clerks in the courtroom and chambers, ethical considerations for judges and their clerks, the process of writing bench memos and opinions, judicial selection and clerk selection, the development and role of a record, judicial decision making, and the role of the judge at each stage of a case.  The course may serve as the academic component for a Judicial Clinic only if the student is concurrently enrolled in the clinic. (3 credit hours)

Legislation (Legislative Clinic)

The growing influence of statutory law requires lawyers to understand legislation and to be well versed in statutory interpretation. Focusing on the federal level, the course will examine the legislative process, including congressional institutional structures and norms; the role of interest groups; and how the three branches of government interact with one another. In addition, the course strives to introduce the practical skills and basic theory necessary for working with statutes, with an emphasis on interpretative and drafting techniques. (2 credit hours)

Legislative Process (Legislative Clinic)

Students will study the skills of drafting statutes and the legislative process. (2 credit hours)

Mediation/Advanced Negotiation (Mediation Clinic)

The theories and practices of advanced negotiation and mediation will be taught in a variety of settings. There will be a substantial focus on developing these ADR skills through role-play exercises and reflection. Grades are based upon video taped performances, analytical writing, and reflective writing. Opportunities to observe live mediation will be made available.  This course satisfies the skills requirement. (3 credit hours)

New Ventures (New Ventures Clinic)

This year-long class will present an overview of the legal process of and issues involved in the commercializing technologies and launching new ventures. Students will also share their intern experiences in order to maximize their learning from their work. Grades will be based on students’ work product and/or recommendation of attorney-supervisor, class participation, and presentations at the end of each semester. The clinic will also provide opportunities to interface with inventors, corporate representatives, as well as outside patent and corporate counsel.  RECOMMENDED: Lawyering Skills or Lawyering Skills/Legal Profession.  This course is open only to students registered for the New Ventures Clinic or with instructor permission.  (4 credit hours)

Public Policy Practicum (Public Policy Clinic)

The classroom component of the practicum will focus on the application of theory to practice. Students will engage with the substantive law of the rights violations being investigated, discuss the strategies available to advocates seeking change, confront legal and ethical issues as they arise in their work, receive training on practical legal skills as needed, and reflect upon their experiences. Students will be graded on a combination of participation and the completion of assignments for the clinical component. There will be no final exam. Note: This course may be repeated for credit. (2 credit hours)

Rights of Crime Victims (Victims Rights Clinic)

In recent years, a strong movement has developed urging that crime victims should play a role in the criminal justice process. This class will explore what role and rights (if any) crime victims should have. Topics to be discussed include defining the “victim”; victim protection; victim involvement in the investigation of the crime, the charging decisions, plea bargaining, and trial; victim impact statements at the sentencing; representation of victims and remedies for deprivations of victims rights; civil remedies as an adjunct to the criminal process; and the proposed federal constitutional amendment protecting victims rights.  (2 credit hours)