Experiential Education

A critical component of your legal training is taking the substantive knowledge from the classroom and applying it in real, practical, and professional settings with clients, other lawyers, judges, and policy-makers. These direct experiences provide an invaluable opportunity to directly impact the lives of people in need of legal assistance, and are an excellent way to identify and prepare for your future success as lawyer.

Message From Office of Legal Clinic and Field Placements

Welcome to the Legal Clinic and Field Placement Program. Our program enhances the classroom curriculum and provides students a range of hands-on, experiential educational opportunities. Every student must complete one or more experiential courses totaling at least six credit hours. 

The experiential education requirement may be satisfied by enrollment in a legal clinic, a field placement, or a simulation course. These options are described in more detail below.  

Certified Legal Intern

The College of Law strongly recommends that students interested in enrolling in a clinic become a Certified Legal Intern (“CLI”) pursuant to the requirements of Chapter 11, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar (aka “Student Practice Rule,” available here: Student Practice Rule.) Students who become certified can (under the supervision of an approved licensed Florida attorney) appear and argue in court, sign legal documents filed with the court, and handle a full range of case advocacy and litigation responsibilities.  

To be eligible to become a CLI, students must first register with the Florida Board of Bar Examiners and receive a “Notice of Registrant Clearance.” Because this process can take a few months, it’s extremely critical that students file their Florida Bar application early, ideally during the first year of law school. There is also a CLI option for students who do not intend to take the Florida Bar. 

CLI applications are submitted directly to the Florida Supreme Court by the Clinic Program, and clinic faculty can provide assistance with the process. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the Clinic Director.  

We encourage you keep an eye out for FAMU law postings and emails from our office about clinic application deadlines and other important information. To schedule an appointment to discuss clinical programs or field placements, please contact us. 

We look forward to working with you.    

Sincerely, 

Mark Dorosin
Director, Legal Clinic and Field Placements 
mark.dorosin@famu.edu 
407-254-4043 


Kim Crag-Chaderton
Clinic Instructor 
kim.cragchaderon@famu.edu
407-254-3226  


Eunice Caussade
Clinic Instructor
eunice.caussade@famu.edu
407-254-3285 


Pamela Leonard
pamela.leonard@famu.edu
407-254-4000 

 


 

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Field Placements

Field Placements offer students semester-long opportunities to leave the traditional classroom setting and assist lawyers and judges in the practice of law and the administration of justice. Field Placements enhance the substantive law curriculum through experiential, hands-on learning under the close supervision of a Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University College of Law faculty member and attorneys in good standing as site supervisors. Students may receive from 1 to 6 credits during any semester, and no more than 9 field placement credits over the course of their law school enrollment. 

Students in the program will work for judges or magistrates, or attorneys in government agencies, public interest organizations, non-profit organizations, law firms and corporate legal offices.  Through field placements, students will develop the practical skills, poise, and confidence necessary to be effective practitioners. Field Placements also will provide insight into professional responsibility and the operation of the legal system. 

The College of Law maintains a master list of places that have expressed interest in hosting a field placement student. That list is continually updated and can be obtained from the Office of Legal Clinics and Field Placement Program.  Students are responsible for applying directly to the place at which they wish to serve their field placement; the law school does not make selections or determine the selection requirements of any field placement. 

Field Placement Requirements, Registration and Credit Hours  

Requirements
A Field Placement will consist of two contemporaneous components: the field component, and the academic component. The field component is the students’ externship at the placement site, which must be supervised by a licensed attorney or an individual otherwise qualified to supervise (Site Supervisor); in either case the individual must be approved by the Field Placement Program Director. Field work assignments are intended to meet the objectives of the placement location. 

The academic component consists of each student’s mandatory attendance at an orientation at the start of the field placement session and 3 seminars throughout the semester. It also includes weekly completion of time logs, reading and writing assignments concerning their field experience to be posted on Canvas.  Students must timely complete and submit all class assignments to get credit for the field placement 
          

Registration
1.Students shall locate a field placement site and contact the appropriate extern coordinator or hiring official.  Each field placement site will have its own application process and students must fully comply with those requirements.  Students may obtain a list of approved sites from the Field Placement Director, but students are not limited to those sites. 

2.Students complete a FAMU Field Placement Registration Form, available from the Registrar’s Office or Registrar’s webpage. The duties to be performed under the field placement must be exclusively related to the substantive law curriculum and must be similar to the activities of a lawyer advising or representing a client. Student cannot get credit for tasks normally completed by administrative assistants (typing, filing, making copies, etc.), paralegals or legal assistants. 

3.Each student must secure supervision from a full-time faculty member. If the Field Placement site is in a city located more than 50 miles from Orlando, the student may, with the approval of the Field Placement Director, seek supervision from a full-time faculty member at another ABA Accredited law school.  The faculty supervisor must sign the Field Placement Registration Form, signifying his or her agreement to supervise the student’s field placement performance. 

4.The student must obtain the signature of the Site Supervisor, who must be an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction in which the field placement is to be completed. In some instances, such as a Congressional or international internship, the site supervisor may be approved even if he or she is not licensed to practice. The Site Supervisor’s signature signifies the supervisor’s consent to work with the faculty supervisor and Field Placement Program Director to ensure the educational quality of the field placement. 

5.The student must obtain the signature of the Field Placement Program director and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. After all signatures are obtained, the student submits the Field Placement Registration Form to the Registrar for official enrollment. The Registrar will issue a “permission code” allowing the student to officially enroll in a field placement via IRattler. 


Credit Hours

Students should indicate the number of credit hours expected to be earned via the field placement. The required number of total hours spent on-site will vary based on the number of credit hours chosen. Field Placements may be completed early if the hourly requirement hours have been satisfied and with appropriate permission from both Faculty and Site Supervisors. Except when an extension is granted by the Field Placement Director, all hours must be completed before the beginning of the following semester. 

Students should carefully consider the number of credits sought for each field placement; students who do not complete the number of hours corresponding to the number of credits enrolled may request the option of receiving an “incomplete” and be allowed an additional six weeks from the start of the next term or semester to complete the hours. 


FIELD PLACEMENT GRADING

Students enrolled in Field Placements will be graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis only.  The Clinic and Field Placement Director shall, after consultation with the Faculty and Site Supervisor, assign the final grade and submit the grade to the registrar.  

 

 

Legal Clinics

The Legal Clinical Program offers eligible second and third-year law students an opportunity to serve traditionally underserved clients under the supervision of a faculty member admitted to practice. There are currently four clinics: 

Homelessness and Legal Advocacy     
Mediation    
Criminal Defense  

Guardian Ad Litem  

The Homelessness and Legal Advocacy Clinic offers a comprehensive set of legal services focused on assisting and empowering low-income individuals.  Students have the opportunity to interact with clients and provide direct representation on matters ranging from Family Law, Domestic Violence, Housing, Probate, Consumer Law, and other civil litigation. Under the supervision of clinic faculty and lawyers for the Virgil Hawkins Fellowship, students will develop key legal and advocacy skills. 

Students enrolled in the Mediation Clinic have the opportunity to become Florida Supreme Court certified County Court Mediators. As part of the certification process, students will participate in mediation observations and conduct actual mediations of small claims and county civil disputes in County Court in the 9th Circuit, Orange, and Osceola Counties. Students will learn and develop skills crucial to the role of mediators and legal professionals. By focusing and implementing mediation methodologies, students will learn skills of active listening and communications; conflict, issue and interests spotting, information gathering and negotiations techniques; problem-solving strategies and approaches; and effective mediation settlement agreement drafting. 

The Criminal Defense Clinic focuses on representing indigent clients charged with criminal offenses in county and circuit courts. The students will be assigned an attorney through the Office of Regional Conflict Counsel. Students have the opportunity to conduct initial intake interviews, participate in discovery, prepare witnesses, negotiate with the state regarding plea bargains, prepare and present pre- and post-trial motions, and, if necessary, represent clients throughout an entire trial. 

In the Guardian Ad Litem Clinic, students engage in legal advocacy on behalf of children, while developing a strong foundation in lawyering skills and values. The clinic addresses constitutional, statutory, and common laws impacting children, including the legal interests of parents and the government and the law’s evolving conception of children’s rights. Special emphasis is placed on dependency law, including abuse and neglect, foster care, termination of parental rights, adoption, children’s right to services and protection from harm, and state liability for harm. 

Students wishing to participate in any Legal Clinic must complete an application available from the Legal Clinic and will be subject to a character and fitness evaluation. 

CLINIC REQUIREMENTS, REGISTRATION AND CREDIT HOURS 

Requirements 

  1. Students MUST have completed 48 credit hours for the academic session registering to participate in a Legal Clinic.  
  2. Students MUST have completed Professional Responsibility Course 
  3. Any Legal Clinic specific requirements, (i.e. GPA, CLI, etc.). 


Registration

Complete and return a Legal Clinic General Application. 

Credit Hours
4 Credit Hours = 168 hours (approx. 13 hours per week)
Criminal Defense Clinic 
Mediation Clinic  

 6 Credit Hours = 252 hours (approx. 20 hours per week) 

Guardian Ad Litem Clinic 

Homelessness and Legal Advocacy Clinic 


CLINIC GRADING

Students enrolled in Clinics will be graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis only.   

 

 


 

Simulation Courses

A simulation course provides substantial experience not involving an actual client, that is reasonably similar to the experience of a lawyer advising or representing a client or engaging in other lawyering tasks in a set of facts and circumstances devised or adopted by a faculty member. The College of Law regularly offers the following simulation courses:  

(1) Contract Drafting
(2) Domestic Violence Workshop
(3) Interview, Counseling and Negotiation
(4) Law Office Management
(5) Mediation Theory and Practice
(6) Pretrial Practice Workshop
(7) Trial Practice 

In addition, the College of Law may offer other courses that may satisfy the Experiential Education Requirement. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may designate other courses as meeting the experiential education requirement on a case-by-case basis where the designated course meets the standards for experiential learning.