Community Solutions Clinic

Section 1, Spring 23

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 3/8
Credits: 4
Days* Time Room Start Date End Date
  • M
  • 1000-1120
  • SL276
01/23/2023 04/24/2023
*“R” means Thursday

Course Description

This clinic applies collaborative problem solving and community lawyering principles to support local social entrepreneurs. This clinic is ideal for students who are seeking to learn skills they can apply to being in-house counsel, pro bono coordinator at a law firm or bar organization, or in an executive director or similar management role at a nonprofit community organization. Student teams support social entrepreneurs in the community – whether individuals, organizations or coalitions – to help bring their ideas for change to fruition. The clinic focuses on issues related to access to justice, supporting civic engagement and political participation, and addressing structural inequality on behalf of marginalized communities, but we will consider projects in related areas. (Go to the enrollment request form at this link to review current/proposed projects: No prior knowledge of a subject matter area is required to participate; students will be assigned to project teams based on both interest level and the diverse skills and experiences they bring to the table, and the clinic supports the teams in locating the additional resources they need to provide value to the client. The team will develop an overarching blueprint for the client to move forward with, and will provide the legal advice, documents, and resources they need to do so. Aside from developing expertise in the subject matter of their project and learning from the other teams’ work, students learn a holistic, systems thinking approach to community lawyering. They learn principles and techniques of authentic community engagement, client-centered advising, team-based project management, and communication with, and presentation to, nonlawyer audiences. They learn to use business consulting methods for breaking down the client’s problem into a logic tree, and for information-gathering and research to inform decisionmaking (including survey and focus group design, external analyses, and environment scans). Teams regularly present their progress to fellow clinic students, outside experts, and the client in order to practice presentation skills and reality-test their solutions, and the project culminates in a final presentation to the client, along with supporting work or materials the team has developed. Some projects may take place in multiple stages over a series of semesters, in which case the initial project team will also propose a structure for future project stages (and students may elect to take the clinic an additional semester to continue work for a client). 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. Admission is on a rolling basis until all seats are filled. Students should apply by the application deadline in order to be considered for a reserved spot in the clinic.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Final Type (if any): None
Description: None

Written Work Product
Written Work Product:

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: Because the credits in this course count toward the JD Program Professional Skills requirement, JD candidates will be given enrollment priority for this class. Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: Yes
Course Resources: To be announced.
Course Notes: Important information for applicants: There will be a "boot camp" (likely immediately prior to classes starting) to jump start the semester. Thereafter, class meetings will be once a week, plus a separate team supervision session once a week (we aim for a one-hour block, which is sometimes a meeting with the whole group and sometimes divided between teams). Seminar time after initial training will be divided between: (1) faculty-led sessions on substantive topics relevant to clinic projects, and (2) student presentations to the full class with Q&A at key stages of the process, which also serve as “dry runs” for interim and final presentations to clients. Each student team will likely need to create a separate standing meeting time for team work meetings and/or stakeholder meetings. Total expected commitment (including class/supervision/meeting time and all client work) is approximately 13-15 hours per week. NOTE REGARDING CREDITS: students in this clinic will receive a grade of Honors (H), Pass (P) or Fail (F) at the conclusion of the semester. In accordance with Academic Policy, CR, NC, H, P, and F grades do not earn grading points, so they do not contribute to a student's grade point average (GPA).

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: Yes
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*If “Yes,” then students are required to submit a substantial research paper in this course, which means students do not need to submit any form to SRO for this paper to meet their upper-level writing requirement. If “No,” then students must submit a “special request” e-form to SRO (available via LawWeb) no later than five weeks after the start of the term for a paper in this class to be counted toward the upper-level writing requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Friday, April 21, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Sunday, April 30, 11:59 PM