State and Local Government Policy Clinic

State and Local Government Policy Clinic

Virginia Capitol building

State and Local Government Policy Clinic

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

Specifically, students provide nonpartisan policy/legal research assistance to members of the Virginia General Assembly, officials in state executive branch agencies, and/or local government officials, as they develop and/or work to implement legislative or policy proposals, and, when appropriate, assist their government clients in advocating for the proposals or legislative ideas they develop.

The clinic is open — and all clinic activities are available — to both 2L and 3L students.

Students will work in teams, and while each team will have more than one project, and projects will vary depending on assignments, during the academic year all clinic students will have the opportunity to work with individual legislators in the Virginia General Assembly to craft legislation and work to secure passage of their proposed bills. The clinic works with legislators, and other government officials, from both political parties.

This clinic does not have paper or exam requirements. Students are expected to responsibly and diligently handle their clinic projects, and engage in all activities necessary to fulfill their responsibilities to their client partners, including conducting client meetings, legal and policy research, writing decision briefs, meeting with stakeholders and experts to inform various policy proposals, negotiating final policy or legislative approaches, drafting legislation, crafting communication materials regarding legislative or policy proposals, participating in direct legislative advocacy during the General Assembly session including crafting summary materials of their proposals, meeting with individual legislators to advocate for their proposals, and/or offering testimony to legislative or other policy bodies.

To date, students have worked in a range of policy areas including, but not limited to, education, public health, workforce development, behavioral health, criminal justice, juvenile justice, property tax exemptions, economic development, collective bargaining and unemployment insurance.

While each year’s topics will vary depending on client interest and needs, public education will remain a priority area.  Student policy preference will be considered when assigning clinic projects.

While the workload will vary by week, students should expect to work between 10-15 hours per week. In the fall, that work will include class preparation and class time.

Image: Martin Kraft / License: CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Skills Taught
Legal and policy research, drafting legislation, writing decision briefs, negotiating, crafting communication materials, oral presentations and participating in direct legislative advocacy, and/or offering testimony to legislative or other policy bodies
Course Length
Yearlong
Grading
CR/NC (fall); H/P/F (spring)
Course Credits
8 (4 fall/4 spring)
Application?
Instructors

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