Community Solutions Clinic

Community Solutions Clinic

Charlottesville

Community Solutions Clinic

This clinic teaches structured, team-based problem-solving through collaborative engagement with community groups.
Student teams work with community partners to define the scope of work for a project proposed by the partners; brainstorm root causes and questions to be answered; develop sources of data, both internal and external, to respond to these questions; and synthesize the information into a proposed solution or set of options, culminating in a final presentation to stakeholders and a blueprint for moving forward. Students may also participate in subsequent phases of problem-solving that involve an aspect of implementation of a previously generated solution.
 
Project areas may include issues related to access to justice, supporting civic engagement and participation, and developing collaborations that help overcome structural inequity in marginalized communities, but other areas with a significant legal/regulatory aspect are considered. The clinic does not directly engage in litigation, although it may, as part of a project, assess the need for and desirability of litigation to help accomplish client goals.
 
In the course of developing potential solutions, students learn methods for lawyers to engage with communities collaboratively to develop a sustainable solution in partnership with the community it benefits. Students also learn to effectively work as a team and manage a project from initial engagement to final deliverable, developing related professional skills along the way. Students may also have the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary work with other disciplines. The clinic is available to new students in both fall and spring. Students participating in the fall may request to continue to the advanced clinic in the spring, depending on availability of projects.
Skills Taught
Structured, team-based problem-solving; assessing both legal and nonlegal regimes and solutions; working collaboratively with clients and stakeholders; other professional skills, such as communication and team/meeting management, planning and staging work
Course Length
Semester-long (fall and spring)
Meets
Weekly
Course Credits
4 (3 for advanced clinic in spring)
Application?
Instructors

Faculty

Academics