CLINICAL LEGAL EDUCATION FAST FACTS
Choose from an Array of Clinics
Clinical Legal Education
Vanderbilt offers eight clinics for academic credit. Students may enroll in clinics for one or two semesters.
Vanderbilt’s clinics enable students to gain realworld legal experience under the expert guidance of members of the law faculty. Working under close supervision, students in Vanderbilt’s clinics represent clients in state and federal courts, administrative proceedings, transactions and other matters. They also complete substantive legal research in support of government agencies, international institutions and international tribunals. Students in Vanderbilt’s clinics have won cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, obtained post-conviction relief on behalf of clients convicted of murder and other crimes, obtained relief for clients facing deportation, prosecuted trademark applications before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, assisted in major international human rights prosecutions and defenses, helped parents obtain educational accommodations, and appeared in every level of state, federal and administrative tribunal in the state of Tennessee.
Build Substantive Experience Clinics rank among the school’s most popular courses because students learn to apply the knowledge of the law they gain in other courses to actual legal cases. Individual clinics afford an opportunity to delve into a particular area of law, and students in all clinics learn lawyering skills they can then apply to all aspects of legal practice. They also gain an in-depth understanding of the legal system and its participants. Equally valuable, students gain a working understanding of their role as lawyers and the expectations, professional responsibilities and challenges presented by that role. Gain Practical Lawyering Skills Students in Vanderbilt’s clinics advance their skills in interviewing and counseling, factual development, legal research, negotiation, advocacy, and the development of legal documents ranging from pleadings to amicus briefs to treaties. Students can choose clinical courses from an array of practice areas that include litigation and trial advocacy, business and transactional law, civil actions, protection of intellectual property rights, immigration law, youth law and international legal practice.
Criminal Practice Clinic. Represent adults charged
with criminal offenses. By representing clients charged with felonies from indictment throughout the case, students gain experience in pretrial, trial and post-conviction procedures, including plea negotiation, sentencing and post-conviction relief. n
low-income immigrants from all over the world before the immigration agencies, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and federal courts in humanitarian immigration cases. Students take primary responsibility and decision-making authority for their cases, gaining substantive knowledge of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the applicable Code of Federal Regulations, and Department of Homeland Security forms, applications and internal policies.
First Amendment Clinic. Represent clients on
issues involving free speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. New in 2019, this clinic is made possible by a grant from the Stanton Foundation. n n
services to low-income seniors who are patients of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Geriatric Clinic regarding Advance Care Plans, the designation of health care and financial agents, and wills. The practicum includes intensive training on elder law issues in the health care setting, on medical-legal partnership principles, and on client interviewing and counseling.
International Law Practice Lab. Gain research
and treaty negotiation skills while working at the intersection of international and domestic law. Students work on projects for international
Turner Family Community Enterprise Clinic.
Represent small businesses and nonprofit organizations in such transactional matters as entity formation, governance, tax, contracts, employment, intellectual property and risk management. Projects may include creating a new business, drafting a lease or other agreement, or applying for tax-exempt status.
Intellectual Property and the Arts Clinic.
Represent individuals, businesses and groups in matters involving copyright, trademark, publicity rights and trade secrets, and participate in communication education programs on intellectual property and arts-related topics.
Geriatric Clinic Medical-Legal Partnership Practicum. Provide counseling and limited legal
institutions, domestic government agencies and international tribunals, and learn to develop strategies for advocacy of particular legal and policy decisions in different venues.
Immigration Law Clinic. Represent vulnerable
Youth Opportunity Clinic. Represent young people
(aged 16-25) at risk for criminal legal involvement by providing civil legal representation that will help them access opportunities in the areas of education, secure housing and employment. Clinic students will learn about the school-to-prison pipeline and the collateral effects of the criminalization of youth by representing clients in proceedings such as school disciplinary hearings, housing evictions, and record sealing and expungement. BARBARA MOUSSET and NEIL GREENWELL, both Class of 2017, at the Tennessee Criminal Court of Appeals, where they argued the criminal appeal case of Sanders Madewell v. State of Tennessee as students in the Criminal Practice Clinic under the supervision of Dean Susan Kay.
Learn more about Vanderbilt Law School’s legal clinics.
CLINICAL FACULTY “Clinics bridge the gap between the actual practice of law and the doctrine and theory students study in other classes. They’re integral to the learning experience, and both are essential.” SUSAN KAY ’79
| Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs
Dean Kay teaches Vanderbilt’s Criminal Practice Clinic. She recently served on the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Indigent Representation Task Force—a hot and complex issue in Tennessee, where, Kay said, “There is concern from all quarters that indigent defendants are not always provided with competent and appropriately compensated counsel.”
SUSAN L. KAY, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs (J.D. Vanderbilt), teaches the Criminal Practice Clinic as well as courses on criminal law and evidence. She also supervises the Trial Advocacy courses and student externships. Within the clinic, she has conducted major public law litigation concerning jail overcrowding, inmates’ rights and juvenile justice. She is a past president of the Clinical Legal Education Association.
MICHAEL BRESSMAN, Professor of the Practice of Law (J.D. Harvard), teaches the Intellectual Property and the Arts Clinic and directs Vanderbilt’s Clerkship Program. He has extensive experience in private practice, where he focused on intellectual property, internet and technology law.
ANNE-MARIE FARMER, Adjunct Professor of Law (J.D. Vanderbilt), teaches the Geriatric Clinic Medical-Legal Parternship Practicum. She practiced as a litigation associate with Bass Berry & Sims in Nashville for four years before specializing in the development of medical-legal partnerships. She previously operated a medicallegal partnership between the law school and the Veteran’s Administration to assist military veterans with civil legal issues.
G. S. HANS, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law (J.D. Michigan), teaches the First Amendment Clinic. His work and scholarship examine how individuals and organizations grapple with the complex legal and policy issues involved with technology and civil liberties. KARLA MCKANDERS, Clinical Professor of Law (J.D. Duke), teaches the Immigration Practice Clinic and refugee and immigration law. Her scholarship focuses
Vanderbilt students in Professor Karla McKanders’ Refugee Law seminar worked with students studying refugee law at Rutgers Law to draft an amicus brief in a case known as “the Matter of A - B-.” The brief asserts that Federal Circuit Court precedent firmly establishes that harms inflicted by private actors constitute persecution for the purpose of asylum claims.
on immigration federalism and international systems for processing refugees.
SPRING MILLER, Assistant Dean for Public Interest (J.D. Harvard), was an attorney with Southern Migrant Legal Services, where she began her legal career as a Skadden Fellow. Dean Miller supervises the Externship Program and also helps students identify and pursue public interest career and pro bono opportunities.
MICHAEL A. NEWTON, Professor of the Practice of Law (J.D., LL.M. University of Virginia), an expert on accountability and conduct of hostilities issues, developed and teaches the International Law Practice Lab. In addition to garnering substantive projects for Practice Lab students, Professor Newton helps students find international externship placements to further their career goals.
LAUREN ROGAL, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law (LL.M. Georgetown, J.D. Michigan), teaches the Turner Family Community Enterprise Clinic, a transactional clinic through which students learn an array of lawyering skills by serving disadvantaged start-up entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations. Rogal practiced at Klamp & Associates, a D.C.-based firm that represents nonprofits and social enterprises, before earning her LL.M. in advocacy.
CARA SUVALL, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law (J.D. Harvard), teaches the Youth Opportunity Clinic. She cofounded The Bronx Defenders’ Adolescent Defense Project, which provides holistic, individualized representation to clients aged 14-17 charged in adult criminal proceedings, after creating a pilot program representing young clients in school discipline and other education matters as a Yale Public Interest Law Fellow.
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