Our clinic is a law firm within the law school and is staffed with eight full-time faculty members who have years of practice experience themselves. You will represent clients and client groups who cant afford their own lawyers. Our clinic handles more than 100 cases per year for a total of approximately 16,000 hours of pro bono legal work.
Each student takes primary responsibility for his/her caseload. Cases are often complex and include ongoing representation of organizations, civil, criminaland administrative appeals, consumer disputes, disability rights, fraud claims, emergency commitment and competency hearings, patentability and patent applications, trademark and copyright issues, misdemeanor and felony cases in adult and juvenile court, and innocence-project cases. The nine clinics in our center each provide experiences in different areas of law.
Appellate Litigation Clinic
Students will represent clients in all phases of the appellate process in civil and criminal cases in both Ohio and federal courts. Students will interview clients, pursue any necessary post-judgement relief in the trial court, prepare the paperwork to initiate the appeal, ensure the completeness of the record, handle any settlement conferences/discussions, draft the appellate briefs, and conduct oral arguments. There is heavy emphasis on oral and written advocacy, appellate procedure, strategic case planning, and professional conduct. Weekly two-hour seminars will be supplemented by individual meetings with student teams to discuss their casework.
Civil Litigation Clinic
Students represent both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of civil litigation in both state and federal courts. Examples include claims of home-repair fraud, landlord-tenant disputes, debt collection and miscellaneous tort claims. We also routinely handle appeals. Students are responsible for all aspects of litigation, including the initial client interview and case assessment, preparation of pleadings and motions, conducting discovery, settlement negotiations andwhen circumstances requiretrying the case before a judge or jury or handling an appeal. There is heavy emphasis on oral and written advocacy, civil procedure, strategic case planning and professional conduct.
Criminal Justice Clinic
Students represent clients in adult misdemeanor matters including for example, assault, domestic violence, petty theft, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and traffic matters (including DUI and Driving under Suspended License). Students investigate, complete discovery, prepare and argue all pre-trial matters and represent their clients at both bench and jury trials.
Community Development Clinic
Third-year legal interns in the Community Development Clinic work with a range of organizations, businesses and nonprofits including cooperatives, arts organizations, social service organizations, community development organizations and more on a range of operational and transactional matters. Students represent business and nonprofit entities in the formation of their businesses and in obtaining tax-exemption for nonprofit corporations. They act as general counsel, helping clients plan for future projects and activities and operate in compliance with the law in areas including employment, land use, licensing and tax law. In this capacity, students also assist clients on a wide range of issues including governance, risk assessment and avoidance, and simple intellectual property matters. Students also have the opportunity to represent established community development corporation and sustainable business venture clients in operational and strategic matters, such as real estate deals, subsidiary formation, tax structuring and other corporate transactions.
Health Law Clinic
Students in the Health Law Clinic will engage in direct representation and systemic advocacy activities. We work with hospitals, medical centers and community organizations in the Cleveland area on several initiatives, including infant mortality and childrens health issues stemming from lead exposure. Students represent children and adults in Social Security disability claims, guardianships concerning incompetence, access to health care, special education for disabled children and other health and disability law-related issues in administrative and court proceedings. Among other things, students interview clients and lay witnesses, work with medical professionals, collect and develop evidence to support theory of case, write pre-hearing briefs on behalf of their clients, prepare clients for hearings, prepare and perform direct and cross examination of medical and vocation experts.
Civil Rights & Human Rights Clinic
Students represent plaintiffs in civil rights and landlord-tenant cases, focusing also on systemic problems related to prisons, police, and housing. In most instances, students are responsible for all phases of litigation, including the initial client interview and case assessment, preparation of pleadings and motions, conducting discovery, settlement negotiations and if necessary, trying the case before a judge or jury. Students also work on cases and projects as co-counsel or partners with other lawyers and organizations. Examples of potential work include representing tenants facing eviction, victims of police misconduct, prisoners challenging abusive and discriminatory treatment and civil rights organizations seeking government transparency and accountability.
Students represent non-citizens of the United States before various governmental agencies. Students will work on cases and projects while also dealing directly with their clients through various forms of communication. Examples of work to be conducted include representing non-citizens in applications for relief from removal or deportation, asylum, withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture; assisting clients with applications for Naturalization and/or permanent residency applications and attending and representing clients before US Citizenship and Immigration Service interviews; appearing before an Immigration Court for Court hearings including, Immigration Court Merit Hearings providing litigation opportunity and Immigration Court Master Calendar Hearings.
Intellectual Property (IP) Venture Clinic
Students represent start-up companies and entrepreneurs to develop and cultivate real-world intellectual assets, while also applying skills learned in the fields of corporate and securities law. The four key areas of representation are technology protection, entity structure and filing, investor diligence and disclosure and creating an offer for promising deals. Student teams will develop a general IP protection strategy; perform prior art searches, draft claims and participate in the application and prosecution process with the USPTO and other patent offices worldwide. Students will create a corporate entity, draft fundamental charter documents, prepare investment diligence materials and other materials necessary to close an investment transaction.
Human Trafficking Program
Supported by an $800,000 grant from the Ohio Attorney General, the Human Trafficking Program represents juveniles and adults who are victims of human trafficking. Our students help clients with a wide range of issues including representation in criminal cases, expunging criminal convictions, witness advocacy, immigration status, employment and housing. The program also supports community awareness and works with community partners to improve services and legislative options for victims of trafficking. It hosts an annual day-long conference and partners with nonprofits, such as Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution (SOAP), to distribute informational flyers, missing children posters and other materials.