Other Clinical Opportunities
Student Enrollment Process for Clinical Education
Under the authority of Rule XX of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, eligible third-year students are allowed to represent indigent persons under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Students in the program must be enrolled in one of the seven Clinical Education courses. The course includes three hours per week of classroom instruction, involving lectures, case management strategies, analytical skill exercises, and simulated trials. The students must be seniors who are in good academic standing with the Law Center. As each individual clinic has a maximum number of students allowed, enrollment is open during the fall and spring semesters to eligible seniors on a "first come, first served" basis. Enrollment into the clinic is open in the fall and spring semesters to the first 50 eligible seniors on a "first come, first served" basis. Students enrolled in the clinic receive three hours of credit per semester for a total of six credit hours for the year.
Law Center externships provide students with the unique opportunity for practical experience as well as tutelage by a sitting judge or practicing attorney. Student externs are not paid for their time, but value the one-on-one supervision with attorneys in the various offices. Ten or more students each semester join the two-part externship component of the clinical education program, which carries three hours of course credit.
Externs begin the externships by attending extensive in-house skills sessions in the clinical classroom component. Students are instructed in motion practice, as well as preparing depositions, opening statements, and petitions. Although students take a specific course in professional responsibility, ethics and professionalism are emphasized in the skills sessions.
Students may be placed as externs with local government agencies. The agencies include the First Circuit Court of Appeal, East Baton Rouge Parish Public Defender's Office, the district Attorney's office, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, the State Attorney General's office and the Baton Rouge City Prosecutor's Office. Externs and all other clinical students are officially certified by the Louisiana Supreme Court and sworn in as student attorneys by local judges. The student externs practice under the supervision of that agency-supervising attorney. Evaluations by these supervising attorneys reflect that students are well prepared, eager to learn more of the practice, and committed to public service. Students are able to view actual court proceedings, as well as attorneys preparing for trials. If their extern responsibilities permit, extern students are allowed to accept assigned cases through one of the established clinics.
Simulated Trial Competition
Due to the nature of litigation, the courts' full dockets and the nature of cases handled by a number of clinics, some student-attorneys may have very limited exposure to real life trial practice. In an effort to complement the skills training learned in the classroom and enhance the clinical experience, students are required to participate in simulated trials during the fall semester.
The Annual Simulated Trial Competition allows student-attorneys to test their trial skills before a panel of judges consisting of local judges and attorneys. Teams are made up of four student-attorneys who try civil law based cases chosen by the clinical faculty. All students, including externs, are required to participate in the competition, and each must alternate the roles of attorney and witness. Students are also encourage to prepare trial notebooks. Students are graded strictly on lawyering skills, which include presentation of opening statements, direct and cross examination, qualifying expert witnesses, introducing evidence into the record, use of exhibits, effective use of objections and closing arguments. All rules pertaining to the simulated jurisdiction, including but not limited to rules of procedure and evidence, must be followed.
East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court's Office Tour
At the beginning of the fall semester, all student-attorneys are provided a complete guided tour of the clerk of court's office for the Nineteenth Judicial District Court. This tour provides each student-attorney with the opportunity to see the inner workings of each department of the clerk's office. The Clinic is committed to developing and maintaining a high quality and comprehensive clinical education program for its students, a large number of whom go directly into private or small firm practice.