This clinic is grounded in the development of practical skills necessary to effectively develop and move family law cases from initial client interview to Judgment and Decree.
Of the twelve classes in fall semester, two classes consist of simulated learning and the other ten consist of lecture with in-class exercises, such as, calculating child support, answering paternity hypotheticals, and a class on professional responsibility. The two simulations include: client interview for a dissolution with children (which prepares students for their first client file); and a default hearing. The simulations are grounded in one fictional family law case file.
There is no class in spring semester, but student attorneys’ dockets increase to three cases and student attorneys are required to attend weekly meetings with their case team to discuss case planning, client counseling, review documents, and prepare for court appearances. Court preparation often requires time, in addition to weekly meetings, for mooting the appearance.
The Family Law Clinic may or may not offer students an opportunity to participate in trial. To obtain trial advocacy skills applicable in any litigation setting, students are advised but not required to enroll in Evidence and Trial Practice.
- Weekly status meetings with Prof. Thomas and the student director assigned to any particular file are required throughout the entire academic year.
- Attend Anoka County Family Law Clinic on two Friday afternoons throughout the academic year.
What to expect when working on cases and with clients:
- The student attorney is the primary lawyer in the client’s eyes. This means that if you are not ready for the responsibility of practicing law, you should not take this clinic.
- Every new case begins with factual and legal analysis set forth in written memoranda. Expect feedback on writing substance and style.
NOTE: This course requires certification pursuant to the student practice rule and is open to JD students only.