The USF Law Clinics give you the opportunity to represent real clients in real cases. Under the supervision of a professor, you'll step out of the classroom and into the courtroom to work on a range of legal matters, from civil, to criminal, to juvenile law cases, and more.
Join one of our law clinics to get a jumpstart on your career, while performing pro bono work for clients.
Participation in USF’s legal clinics allow students to gain experience drafting relevant documents, engage with real clients, and collaborate with other students and practitioners. Working in the Internet and Intellectual Property Justice Clinic has been invaluable, and a great way to supplement all I learned in my intellectual property courses by giving me the practical hands on experience I will need to work in the field."
Students enrolled in this clinic represent indigent defendants in all phases of criminal proceedings, from arraignment through trial and appeal in the San Francisco Superior Courts. They attend a two hour weekly seminar to train them in skills such as direct/cross examination and closing arguments. They work closely with attorneys in criminal practice and judges at the Hall of Justice.
Students also represent defendants in the juvenile court delinquency proceedings, providing a unique opportunity to work with children caught up in the juvenile justice system.
Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic
USF's innovative Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic focuses on critical human rights issues, including migrants' rights, application of the death penalty to juveniles, and trafficking of women. Participating students research and prepare presentations for the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Commission on the Status of Women. As representatives of Human Rights Advocates, many students present their case to the council at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, or to the Commission on the Status of Women in New York City. Students also work on briefs detailing international law standards to U.S. courts and represent individual clients before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
The Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic was established principally to represent unaccompanied immigrant children and women with children who have arrived at the southern border and are transferred to Northern California and the Central Valley. Under the supervision of the director and supervising attorney, students represent clients in all phases of immigration proceedings, at the asylum office, the immigration courts, and adjudication offices of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Students also will represent minors in state probate and family law courts to seek guardianships where appropriate to qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. While the principal focus of the clinic is on unaccompanied immigrant children and related cases, other removal defense cases will likely be added to the caseload over time. The clinic is currently operated in-house at USF and partners with Catholic Charities of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin County.
The Immigration Policy Clinic was created to analyze changes to immigration policy and prepare resources for those affected. Students focus primarily on policy advocacy, research, and writing, and there is a wide range of possible projects.
Under the direction of a nationally recognized immigration expert, students have developed practice approaches to working with clients suffering from post traumatic stress, developed a sample brief to be share with other agencies on how resisting gang recruitment is a form of political opinion, and conducted Know Your Rights presentations for adults around the Bay Area. They have also developed immigration conversation strategies for children in families with deportable members, engaged in legislative advocacy on behalf of the DREAM Act, and assisted in research on a class action lawsuits filed by Centro Legal De La Raza, ACLU, and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network. Other students have researched country conditions for immigrants applying for asylum, and worked with local city governments to pass resolutions in favor of extending protections to those who have had temporary protected status (TPS) from Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua and are currently in the United States.
The Policy Clinic also has taken a handful of “crim-imm” clients who need representation in Superior Court to obtain post-conviction relief after unknowingly pleading guilty years ago to an offense that rendered them deportable. Also, in partnership with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, this clinic has taken cases involving detained immigrants in Pennsylvania and Georgia who represented themselves pro se before an immigration judge and now have an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
The Internet and Intellectual Property Justice Clinic, in partnership with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, provides a variety of intellectual property legal services, such as domain name disputes in ICANN proceedings, copyright infringement notifications and counter notifications under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, as well as other trademark and copyright matters. The clinic is also a partner in Chilling Effects, a joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and law school clinics at Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, and Maine. Chilling Effects helps the public understand the protections that the First Amendment and intellectual property laws provide for online activities.
Students in the Mediation Clinic have the opportunity to apply dispute resolution skills by serving as mediators in cases brought to the San Francisco Small Claims Court. These mediations involve most areas of the law with the exception of criminal and family law matters. After intensive training, clinic students conduct mediations and draft settlement agreements for parties who are able to resolve their disputes.
The Racial Justice Clinic is a collaboration between the San Francisco Public Defender's office and USF School of Law. Under the direct supervision of Professor Lara Bazelon and experienced attorneys from the public defender's office, the clinic provides law students the opportunity to learn and use complex analytical, legal writing and direct advocacy skills to address racial disparities in the criminal justice system in San Francisco. Law students work with seasoned felony and misdemeanor trial lawyers to track racial disparities in bail settings, write, draft and argue bail hearings in court and design and implement creative strategies to reduce disparate pretrial detention and confinement of prisoners.