Clinical Training

Clinical Training

Virginia’s 23 clinics, many of which offer contact with clients, build experience with real-world problems. Students also advance their skills through courses in public speaking, trial advocacy and professional responsibility, as well as extracurricular moot court and mock trial competitions.

For general information about clinics, contact Director of Clinical Programs Sarah Shalf


Under the supervision of an attorney, students perform the lawyer functions associated with their cases, including client and witness interviews, factual development, legal research, preparation of pleadings and negotiation. Students with third-year practice certification may also be responsible for courtroom advocacy. The following clinics are offered most years.

Appellate Litigation

Students brief and argue one or more appeals before a federal appeals court.

Civil Rights

Students provide relief and legal support to people and communities that have been harmed by the criminalization of poverty and other forms of discrimination or deprivation of rights.

Community Solutions

This clinic teaches structured, team-based problem-solving through collaborative engagement with community groups.

Criminal Defense

Students represent defendants in criminal cases in local courts.

Decarceration and Community Reentry

This clinic works to stop the cycle of incarceration by assisting formerly incarcerated people with resolving the collateral consequences of arrests and convictions, and creating sustainable and effective reforms in their communities.

Economic and Consumer Justice

Students work with clients who have problems that are covered by various consumer protection laws, mainly those governing debt collection and other debt-related issues.

Employment Law

Cases may include wrongful discharge actions, unemployment compensation claims, employment discrimination charges and other claims.

Entrepreneurial Law

Students provide legal counseling and draft basic corporate documentation for startup companies.

Environmental Law and Community Engagement

Students represent and counsel a diverse array of environmental nonprofits, citizens’ groups and community organizations seeking to protect and restore the environment.

Federal Criminal Sentence Reduction

This clinic works to reduce the sentences of indigent federal inmates and gives students a unique opportunity to practice in federal court.

First Amendment

In conjunction with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, students undertake projects in First Amendment subject areas.

Health and Disability Law

Students help represent mentally ill and elderly clients in negotiations, administrative hearings and court proceedings.

Holistic Juvenile Defense

Students practice holistic and zealous lawyering by representing juvenile clients on delinquency matters, as well as related school discipline and special education matters, in order to help keep youth in their homes, schools and communities with appropriate supports.

Immigration Law

Students may work with clients to appeal denials of applications for status and special categorization or procedures.

Innocence Project

Students investigate potential wrongful convictions of Virginia inmates through interviewing potential clients and witnesses, and searching and reviewing pertinent case files and records.

International Human Rights

Students gain experience in human rights advocacy under the supervision of international human rights lawyers.

Litigation and Housing Law

Students handle eviction cases, rent escrow cases, grievance hearings and other enforcement of residents’ rights.


Students advise and work directly with local nonprofit organizations on matters such as initial formation, tax-exempt status, ongoing legal compliance and good corporate governance.

Patent and Licensing

This clinic involves instruction and practical training in patent drafting, negotiating and drafting of patent and software license agreements. 


Students undertake a prosecutor’s duties, including exercising discretion in the decision to prosecute, interacting with law enforcement personnel, dealing with victims and witnesses, and establishing relationships with defense counsel.

State and Local Government Policy

This clinic provides students the opportunity to be directly involved in the practice of actual law and policymaking.

Supreme Court Litigation

Working in teams, students handle actual U.S. Supreme Court cases, from seeking review to briefing on the merits.

Youth Advocacy

Students represent children involved in legal issues in the areas of education, foster care and social services, mental health and developmental disabilities, and delinquency.

Seeking Legal Assistance?

Jennifer Givens, Emerson Stevens and Deidre Enright

Third Innocence Project Client Receives Absolute Pardon

Emerson Stevens is the third client of the Innocence Project to receive an absolute pardon from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in a month’s time.


UVA Law School

Another Innocence Project Client Obtains Absolute Pardon

Joey Carter, a client of the Innocence Project, received an absolute pardon.


Bobbie Morman Jr.

Innocence Project Client Receives Absolute Pardon

An Innocence Project client, Bobbie Morman Jr., was granted an absolute pardon.


Cat Guerrier

Cat Guerrier ’21 Receives Outstanding Clinical Student Award

Cat Guerrier ’21 is this year’s UVA Law recipient of the Clinical Legal Education Association’s Outstanding Clinical Student Award.


UVA Law students and Crystal Shin

Students Negotiate Better Outcomes for Youth Clients in Inaugural Clinic

Students earned successful outcomes for their young clients in the new Holistic Juvenile Defense Clinic.


Charlottesville skyline

New Clinic Will Aid Community Solutions to Equity Concerns

The new Community Solutions Clinic will help further equity in the Charlottesville community through collaborative engagement with community groups.


Legal Aid Justice Center

Clinic Students Notch Successes During Spring Semester

Clinic students gained hands-on experience and notched new successes during the spring.


Pine Grove community members

National Trust Designation Boosts Clinic’s Efforts to Save Schoolhouse

A historic African American schoolhouse the Environmental Law and Community Engagement Clinic has worked to help preserve was recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, improving the chances the site may be saved.


UVA Law students

New Clinic Helps Pass Legislation — With Bipartisan Support

Students in the new State and Local Government Policy Clinic helped all of their state lawmaker clients, on a bipartisan basis, see their bills through to approval this term.


Gerald Smith and family

New Clinic Seeks Prison Sentence Reductions

The new Federal Criminal Sentence Reduction Clinic has already helped free clients on compassionate release.