What can I expect from an in-house clinic?
In all of the in house clinics, students receive guidance and supervision from a full-time faculty member who is a member of the Florida Bar. All clinics represent indigent clients who are referred from various agencies. In order to learn both the substantive law regarding the particular legal issue and about skills necessary for client representation, each in-house clinic has a classroom component that meets two to four hours a week at a scheduled time. The classes also provide an opportunity for discussion and reflection. The clinical suite (our law office) provides space for students to work on cases, a library for research, and rooms for students to interview and counsel clients, interview witnesses or meet with other parties.
Students may enroll in an in-house clinic for two to six graded credit hours, depending on the clinic. Each credit hour requires 45 hours of work, which includes time spent in and preparing for classes. For enrollment requirements, please see the Enrollment page. Advanced students may apply to earn clinic credits as senior clinicians by applying directly with the professor.
(An asterisk following the clinic name indicates that a CLI is required to participate)
Family Law Clinic *Under the supervision of Professor Natalie Tuttle, students in the Family Law Clinic represent clients in marriage dissolution, custody proceedings, domestic violence proceedings, dependency cases (abuse, neglect and abandonment), paternity and child support cases, adoption and miscellaneous matters involving children and the family relationship. There is also the opportunity to represent children in delinquency cases (children being prosecuted for violations of the law) school matters (truancy, discipline, enrollment), emancipations, record sealings and expungements and other matters pertaining to juveniles and their families involved in the legal system. Through the ABA, Military Pro Bono project, the Family Law Clinic also represents service members of the Armed Services with family law issues on a Pro Bono basis. Students gain experience in interviewing and counseling clients, drafting petitions, answers and motions, interviewing witnesses and obtaining relevant discovery, case planning, negotiating and mediating, participating in court hearings and trials. The Family Law Clinic handles matters from the trial court level to the appellate level, including the Florida Supreme Court. The Family Law Clinic receives cases through referrals.
Immigrant and Human Rights ClinicUnder the supervision of Professor Ericka Curran, students in the Immigrant Rights Clinic are involved with both direct legal services to non-citizens as well as legal advocacy projects. Legal services provided include the preparation of asylum petitions, family unity applications and petitions, applications for naturalization and applications for relief under the Violence Against Women Act and the Victim of Trafficking and Violent Crime Prevention Act. Students represent clients in removal proceedings in both the detained and non detained setting and conduct know your rights presentations for detainees. Students gain experience in interviewing and counseling clients, conducting fact investigation, developing case theory, interviewing witnesses, writing declarations and submitting briefs.
In the Caribbean Law Clinic (CLC), students study the legal systems and processes of the Commonwealth Caribbean and assess legal problems confronting Caribbean countries and U.S. jurisdictions represented in the American and Caribbean Law Initiative. Each semester, one of the participating law schools (from either Jamaica, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Cayman Islands, North Carolina or Florida) works with its respective government (often the Attorney General’s office) to refer current legal problems to the CLC.
Caribbean Law Clinic
The CLC serves as a free legal resource that the requesting governmental authority can turn to for timely research and analysis. The research typically involves the law of a particular country, relevant international law and comparative law. Areas addressed so far in the CLC include criminal law and procedure, constitutional law, human rights, immigration, privatization, foreign investment, government ethics, family law, environmental law, maritime law, property, contracts, and international trade and business law.
Students at the participating law schools, under faculty supervision, research and write reports and memoranda. The students then travel to the country or state from which the legal problem originates to present their work to each other, to the faculty, and to the government officials who referred the problems.
Before the formal presentation, students from participating law schools meet to share and discuss their findings and recommendations and plan the presentation. Students have the opportunity to develop skills including problem solving, legal research and analysis, factual assessment, legal writing and formal oral presentation, all in the context of a multi-cultural and multi-national environment. During the trip, time is also spent visiting legal institutions and meeting with governmental officials.
There is a mandatory class component that includes learning about the history, sources of law and the court structures of the legal systems in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Students will also learn about conducting legal research on Commonwealth Caribbean law and will present their research to the class before leaving for the formal clinic presentations. The course is graded and a final exam is administered at the end of the semester.
Selection is based demonstrating a genuine interest in this area of the law and/or this region through background and experience, courses taken in international or comparative law, and involvement in organizations. GPA and year in law school may also be factors.
For additional information, contact Professor Christopher Roederer, Coastal Law's Director of International Programs