With a longstanding commitment to public service and excellence in skills-oriented legal education, Southwestern houses three clinics on campus. The Children's Rights Clinic, Immigration Law Clinic, and Street Law Clinic enable the law school to offer valuable services to the community while giving students hands-on experience helping indigent and otherwise underrepresented clients.
“By offering three clinics - Children's Rights, Immigration Law and Street Law - Southwestern is providing a substantial and much needed service to the Los Angeles community."- Professor Andrea Ramos
Director of the Immigration Law Clinic
Through the Children's Rights and Immigration Law live-client clinics, students are given principal responsibility for a case under the supervision of a clinical faculty member. They learn how to investigate, research, and analyze the relevant facts and law and how to pursue and weigh alternative legal strategies. Students further develop their research and writing skills through the preparation of memoranda and briefs, and may have the chance to hone their advocacy skills through oral argument, examination of witnesses and presentation of evidence at hearings. Through the Street Law Clinic, students teach law-related critical life skills to youth in the Los Angeles dependency, delinquency and special education systems, honing their presentation skills and translating the law in a simpler, more practical manner.
"Our law clinics help build students' skills, promote an ethic of public service, and help Southwestern as an institution contribute to putting lawyering skills in the service of disadvantaged members of our community."- Dean Bryant G. Garth
Clinic students must adhere to professional responsibility requirements such as client confidentiality, civility (particularly towards opposing counsel) and duty to the court, and learn how to exhibit empathy and professionalism when counseling clients.
In addition to working directly with clients, the clinical experience includes a training session, a weekly classroom component focusing on legal skills and professionalism, and individual weekly meetings with the clinic professor. The low student-faculty ratio and close supervision enables students to develop a meaningful and close relationship with clinical faculty.