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- The Judicial Fellows Program
Tightened state budgets have taken a significant toll on the availability of law clerks for judges, particularly in the state district courts. These jobs are extremely valuable not just for judges, who need help researching and drafting their rulings, but also to our recent graduates. Clerkships provide excellent training in legal analysis and advocacy, as well as first-rate mentoring and networking opportunities. In response, and with the support of our Alumni Council, the Sturm College of Law has established the DU Judicial Fellows Program. The Judicial Fellows Program pays recent graduates of the Sturm College of Law to work for local judges, providing 20 hours of legal research and writing per week for a term of six months. The Fellows are compensated by the Sturm College of Law and the courts are charged nothing. The Sturm College of Law administers and supports the program. This popular program was recently expanded to 21 Fellows representing the First, Second and Eighteenth Judicial Districts and the Denver Probate Court. For the 2010-2011 academic year, due to generous gifts from alumni and friends, the law school was able to employ seven additional Fellows.
- Law School Clinical Programs
Denver Law established its legal aid dispensary in 1904 and was the first school in the nation to offer students academic credit for providing legal services to low-income clients. Working to empower low income individuals and communities, the Law School Clinical Program provides an effective learning environment in which students become highly competent and ethical lawyers through real-life representation. The program supports a sustained level of productive work wherein self-directed students learn from practice to develop the core characteristics of professionals and to provide high quality legal services to low-income clients and communities. Today, the Law School Clinical Program has five in house clinics, including: criminal defense, civil litigation, civil rights, community economic development, and environmental. For more information visit the Clinical Program’s website at http://www.law.du.edu/clinics.
- Veterans Advocacy Project (VAP)
The Department of Veterans Affairs has identified legal needs as among the most significant unmet needs of homeless and poor veterans. Launched in the fall of 2015, the Veterans Advocacy Project (VAP) at Denver Law focuses on VA disability compensation claims and discharge upgrades. The VAP pairs individual veterans with teams of Colorado attorneys and Denver Law students. These teams work primarily on benefit disability compensation cases at the regional level and up to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in Washington DC. , and on discharge upgrades. About 23% of veterans receive an “other than honorable discharge”; this discharge status directly affects the veteran’s right to receive VA benefits including health, pension, and education. Students earn three field credits working at the VAP offices in the Volunteers of America Bill Daniels Veteran Services Center, plus take a three credit graded seminar focusing on issues related to handling these types of cases. Funds to this program will help Denver Law respond to the growing need for legal services that assist veterans, directly benefiting those who have served our nation.