Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the Student Law Office?

When it opened as a “legal aid dispensary” in 1904, our clinic was the first in the country to offer law students academic credit for representing poor persons. Today the Student Law Office (SLO) strives to create an educational atmosphere in which law students can refine their lawyering skills while providing quality representation to indigent and underserved clients. The lawyering skills emphasized in this program include: the development of effective client relationships; issue-identification; factual and legal research and analysis; oral advocacy, communication and client advocacy in judicial and administrative settings and negotiation. Also emphasized are the use of appropriate office management techniques that ensure the efficient, ethical handling of client cases as well as strategic planning project management and understanding business concepts and community development goals.

As a working law firm, the SLO provides representation to clients in civil, criminal, civil rights, environmental, and community economic development matters referred by the courts, local agencies, community partners and individuals. Faculty supervisors advise and monitor cases and projects through closure, but in the SLO the students have the primary responsibility for their clients.

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What are the benefits of participating in the Student Law Office?

Clinical legal education is a critical part of all law schools’ curricula. Today, the University of Denver’s Student Law Office (SLO) has five in-house clinics. including: criminal defense, civil litigation, civil rights, community economic development, and environmental law. This range of clinical offerings provides students opportunities to learn different skills including pretrial, trial, and transactional. Students have the opportunity to interview and counsel clients, develop case theory, investigate and engage in discovery, negotiate with adversaries, mediate settlements and engage in the trial of disputed matters, draft contracts and bylaws, article of incorporation, etc. They learn legal ethics and practice in a range of areas including issues of confidentiality and conflict of interest. The SLO emphasizes case management skills, enabling students to handle their cases effectively and efficiently. Finally, our students develop sensitivity to and empathy for the plight of underserved clients.

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When can I apply for a position in the Student Law Office?

Every Fall and Spring the Student Law Office (SLO) hosts a recruitment fair in the Forum. The fair provides a platform for law students to talk to the clinic faculty, staff and current SLO students about the clinical programs. The Student Law Office also sponsors a lunch time information session where faculty describe the work and expectations of each clinic.

The SLO has an on-line application process which usually starts within a few days of the recruitment fair and can be accessed by clicking the link below.

Click here to Apply for a Clinic »

Note: Registration for the Civil Rights Clinic, the Environmental Clinic, and the Community Economic Development Clinic occur only in the Spring of each year, for the following Fall, as they are year-long clinics. The Criminal Defense and Civil Litigation Clinics are semester-long clinics.

Important Dates:
Fall 2014 Orientation – Thursday, August 14, 2014 and Friday, August 15, 2014
Clinic Fair for Spring 2015 Semester – TBD
Student Information Session for Spring 2015 Semester – TBD
On-line Application Process for Spring 2015 Semester – TBD
First day of Fall classes – August 18, 2014

Class times for each class, Fall 2014:
Criminal Defense T/Th 1:15 – 2:30
Civil Litigation T/Th 10:30 – 11:45
Civil Rights M/W 10:30 – 11:45
Environmental Law T/Th 1:15 – 2:30
Community Economic Development T 4:30 – 7:00

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What time commitment will be required of me if I decide to join the Student Law Office?

You can expect to spend a minimum of 25 hours per week working on SLO matters (including casework, supervision, classes and preparation). The exact amount of time will vary from week to week, and may be substantially more than 25 hours in some weeks. It is a good idea to plan the rest of your life with these obligations in mind.

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Will I receive credit for participating in the Student Law Office?

Semester-long clinic credits:
Criminal Defense – 6 total credits: 3 in-class and 3 out-of-class
Civil Litigation – - 6 total credits: 3 in-class and 3 out-of-class

Year-long clinic credits:
Civil Rights – 12 total credits: 6 in-class and 6 out-of-class
Community Economic Development – 12 total credits: 6 in-class and 6 out-of-class
Environmental Law – 12 total credits: 6 in-class and 6 out-of-class

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How do I know which clinic is right for me?

Every semester the Clinical Programs hold a fair as well as a student information session. During the fair students are welcome to talk directly to the clinical faculty and current clinical students about their individual clinics and clinical experiences.

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Will I be asked to leave the program if I don’t win my cases?

No. Rather than focusing on your wins or losses, the SLO instead focuses on your interactions with clients and your ability to meet their legal needs.

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What is the grade requirement for participating in the Student Law Office?

Students must certify they have a GPA which is equal to or greater than 2.3 in order to participate in the SLO.

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I’m an evening student. Do I qualify for a position in the Student Law Office?

Students must complete 30 academic credit hours to be eligible to participate in the SLO. Day and evening students who have completed the 30 academic credit hour requirement are encouraged to apply the clinical programs. However, to participate in the clinic, the SLO students are required to attend the clinic classes and attend all scheduled court dates.

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Does the clinic satisfy the Public Service Requirement?

There are a variety of ways to satisfy the Public Service Requirement. If you have completed a minimum of 30 academic credit hours, you may satisfy the PSR in any of the following ways:

  • A Sturm College of Law student law clinic under the auspices of the Student Law Office.
  • An Externship for credit at a government agency; a judicial agency; a nonprofit (501©(3)) organization; or in a private law firm doing 50 hours of pro bono work under the auspices of the Legal Externship Office.
  • The Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center Child Advocacy Practicum associated with the Legal Externship Office
  • An approved Public Interest Practicum for either zero or one credit under the auspices of the Public Interest Office.
  • A pre-approved Sturm College of Law course which has a practical public service component (current pre-approved courses are Poverty and Low Wage Work In America, Street Law, the Graduate Tax Program’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, Trial Practice III: Mentor’s Practicum, the International Criminal Law Practicum, Wills Lab, and the Probate Practicum).

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Can I participate in the Student Law Office and take an externship at the same time?

As a student attorney, you will be required to abide by the professional responsibility rules that govern all practicing lawyers. Given the intensive time commitment of the clinic as well as the potential for ethical conflicts of interest, students are not allowed to participate in a clinic and an internship or externship simultaneously.

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Can I work and participate in the Student Law Office at the same time?

As a new student attorney you will be asked to abide by all of the ethical rules that would apply as if you were a practicing lawyer. We know that some of you will be working while also taking the clinic. While we generally discourage this, given the intensive time commitment of the clinic, we are aware that some of you will work. If you are working, we will need to disclose your clinic work to your employer and they will need to do a conflict check. If a conflict arises, there is a presumption that the conflict will be resolved to the benefit of the clinic client. Thus, there is a risk that you may have to withdraw from the clinic.

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I’m a 1L and want to participate in the Student Law Office during my second semester, is this possible?

Students must complete 30 academic credit hours to be eligible to participate in the SLO.

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Which clinics meet the experiential learning requirement for earning a certificate?

Participation in the following clinics meets the experiential learning requirement for earning a certificate in the corresponding area of law:

Community Economic Development Clinic – Corporate & Commercial Law
Criminal Defense Clinic – Constitutional Rights & Remedies
Civil Rights Clinic – Constitutional Rights & Remedies
Civil Litigation Clinic (w/ emphasis on employment law) – Workplace Law
Environmental Law Clinic – Environmental & Natural Resources Law

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If you have additional questions that have not been answered on this page, please do not hesitate to call the Student Law Office at 303.871.6150 or send us an email.