Community Law Clinic
For those underserved populations living near or below the poverty line, the Community Law Clinic represents the way forward in matters of family law, disability law, and other areas where they need legal assistance. As a member of the Clinic and under the supervision of Clinical Professor Megan Riesmeyer, you will have the opportunity to represent clients through every level of the state common pleas court system or the requisite federal court system. You’ll not only gain valuable hands-on training, but you’ll be a difference-maker for those who have nowhere else to turn. You’ll be their advocate in family law matters such as divorce, support, custody, adoption, and protection from abuse; and in disability law matters such as ability discrimination, special education, Americans with Disabilities Act claims, and Social Security Disability Claims.
- Complete three semesters of law school
- Taking one of the following courses is strongly encouraged:
- Family Law
- Law of Individuals with Disabilities or
- Administrative Law.
In selecting students for the Community Law Clinic, preference will be given to students who have completed the courses listed below because these students are eligible to become certified legal interns under Rule 322 of the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners:
- Professional Responsibility
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the focus of the Community Law Clinic?
Students can choose to handle family law cases primarily, disability law cases, or a mixture of both.
What do students do if they focus on disability law at the Clinic?
Disability Law Clinic students represent clients through every step of litigation of the various legal issues. Students interview and counsel clients and prepare all necessary court documents such as petitions, complaints, briefs, and pre-hearing memoranda. Students spend time reviewing medical, educational, and vocational documents very carefully prior to any court appearances. Our students appear before Administrative Law Judges of the Social Security Administration, Department of Education Hearing Officers, and judges of the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas.
What do students do if they focus on family law at the Clinic?
For nearly thirty years, the Clinic has been dedicated to providing free legal services to eligible individuals in Cumberland County who cannot afford private attorneys or have been the victims of abuse.
Under the supervision of Clinical Professor Megan Riesmeyer, law students represent individuals involved in family law matters such as divorce, support, custody, adoption, and protection from abuse. Students will draft legal documents, interview clients, investigate facts, complete legal research, communicate directly with opposing counsel and experts, and oral advocacy for court hearings.
What kinds of tasks do Clinic students perform?
As certified legal interns, students are responsible for all aspects of representing clients. Working under the direction and supervision of licensed attorneys, students learn basic lawyering skills like drafting legal documents, interviewing clients, investigating facts, completing legal research, communicating with opposing counsel and experts, and oral advocacy for court hearings.
What kind of student commitment is expected in the CLC?
The Community Law Clinic has limited enrollment. Students earn four credits per semester and may choose a single-semester or a dual-semester commitment. Students are expected to average 12 to 16 hours per week in the clinic and attend a two-hour class session each week. Students receive a grade for their participation in the clinic each semester. Additionally, the clinic offers limited opportunities for paid employment during semester breaks and the summer. In order to become a certified legal intern under Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules and represent clients in the courtroom, a student must complete approximately 43 credits by the time he or she applies for certified legal intern status. Students work under the supervision of attorneys licensed in Pennsylvania.