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. (See application materials for information about current year topics.)

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. Students in this Clinic should also expect to work over winter break on their legislative projects, including coming back to school early for the beginning of the General Assembly Session.  We will make up this time to you at the end of the spring semester.

To be considered for this clinic, students must both rank the clinic in the clinic lottery and submit application materials within the timeline set by the Student Records Office. Students selected for the clinic through the clinic application/lottery process will be automatically enrolled prior to the regular course lottery.

The positions that the clinic takes on behalf of its clients are independent of the views of the University of Virginia or the School of Law.

Andrew Block
Professor of Law, General Faculty
Director, State and Local Government Law Clinic
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
S/U (fall); H/P/F (spring)
Course Credits
8 (4 fall/4 spring)
In the News

News About the State and Local Government Policy Clinic

5.2.24 Clinic Helps Pass Foster Care Reform in Virginia

4.3.23 Clinic Helps Pass Mental Health Reforms in Virginia

3.28.23 Needing the Most, Getting the Least

4.18.22 Clinic Helps Lawmakers Pass Childhood Literacy Bill

3.8.22 Report Offers Recommendations for Reducing Racial Wealth Gap in Virginia

3.19.21 New Clinic Helps Pass Legislation — With Bipartisan Support

2.11.21 Students Play Role in Report Recommending Ways to Reduce Inequity in Virginia

5.28.20 Students Present Findings on Racial Inequality to Governor’s Commission

12.12.19 Juvenile Justice Expert Andrew Block Rejoins Faculty

Recent Media Coverage

3.26.24 “Column: Legislation Protects Virginia’s Insured Consumers” (The Virginian-Pilot)

3.25.24 “Gov. Youngkin Can Make Insurance Companies Honor Their Contracts” (Cardinal News)

2.16.24 “Three Interesting Bills: Labor Trafficking, City Council Salary Caps and Employee Retaliation” (Virginia Mercury)

4.7.23 “UVa Students Help Bring Major Mental Health Reform” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

2.28.23 “Column: Rights Restoration Has Bipartisan Support. So Why Does It Keep Failing?” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

4.23.22 “City Council Discusses Proposed Changes to Community Development Block Grant at First Hybrid Meeting in Two Years” (The Cavalier Daily)

4.11.22 “UVA Law Clinic Helps Update Youth Delinquency Prevention Act” (The Daily Progress)

3.11.22 “UVA Law Students and Professor Work With Sen. McClellan on SB 485 Bill” (NBC29)

3.10.22 “Study Conducted by UVA Law Students Shows Major Wealth Gaps Between White and Black Virginians” (NBC29)

3.2.22 “New Approach May Help Kids Learn To Read so They Can Read To Learn” (WVTF Radio) 

1.6.22 “Virginia Commission Urges Policy Changes To Address Inequity in the State’s Economy, Rural Life, Environment” (The Washington Post)

3.21.21 “UVA Law Clinic Assists in Bill Allowing Inclusion of Mental Health Evidence” (The Daily Progress)

3.12.21 “New Virginia Law Aimed at Fairness for Those With Mental Disabilities Who Are Charged With Crimes” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

3.3.21 “Eli Jones and Stephanie Metherall Column: Rights Restoration: Giving Virginia and Its Citizens a Second Chance” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

2.26.21 “Better, More Community Input Is Needed To Address Environmental Injustice, Commission Finds” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

2.11.21 “Racial Inequity Committee Finds Widespread Disparities Across Virginia, Releases Recommendations To Bridge the Gap” (NBC29)

10.14.20 “UVA School of Law Working With Virginia Parole Board on Research and Reform” (NBC29)

4.20.20 “Northam Signs Bills Repealing Discriminatory Language Remaining in Virginia Laws” (NBC29)