College of Law

Clinics & Externships

UT is home to the longest-running legal clinical program in the nation. Since 1947, the College of Law’s legal clinics have provided students with opportunities to learn by doing—representing clients in need and helping resolve legal disputes under faculty supervision.

A national leader in clinical education, the UT Legal Clinic ranks in U.S. News and World Report’s top 10 legal clinical programs among public universities and is 19th among all US law schools.

Clinics

Advocacy

In the Advocacy Clinic, students represent real clients in real cases with real consequences in the areas of criminal, housing, and juvenile law. Through their representation, students are able to develop a wide range of skills integral to the practice of law, including discovering and investigating facts; interviewing and counseling clients; interviewing witnesses; developing a case strategy; drafting and arguing motions; negotiating with opposing parties; and presenting evidence. Learn more.

Appellate Litigation

The Appellate Litigation Clinic is a year-long clinic in which students, under faculty supervision, represent clients in administrative, state, and federal appeals. Students review the record; interview and counsel clients about appellate issues; frame issues for appeal; prepare and file appellate briefs; and prepare and, when possible, participate in oral arguments in appellate courts and tribunals. Learn more.

Business Law and Trademark Clinic

The Business Law Clinic provides corporate legal assistance to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations that cannot afford to pay market rates for legal services. The primary objective of the clinic is to give students hands-on experience handling transactional legal problems while providing assistance to small business owners in the Knoxville area. The clinic enables businesses to implement available legal protections and business structures, which they otherwise could not afford, and to obtain guidance in complying with a variety of legal requirements. In addition, the Trademark Clinic provides trademark legal services to independent inventors and small businesses on a pro bono basis. Students represent clients before the US Department of Commerce’s US Patent and Trademark Office under the guidance of a faculty clinic supervisor. Learn more.

Domestic Violence

Students working in the Domestic Violence Clinic represent clients in contested hearings and trials through Knox County’s Fourth Circuit Court and work with victims of domestic violence in gaining orders of protection and related matters. The clinic partners with the UT College of Social Work, which provides an intern to address the non-legal needs of victims. Learn more.

Immigration

Since 2000, East Tennessee has doubled its foreign-born population, resulting in an increased need for legal representation for low-income immigrants. The Immigration Clinic offers free legal assistance in immigration matters to clients who meet income eligibility requirements. Students work with their clients and argue their cases before the immigration court in Memphis. Students engage in client counseling and interviews, fact investigation, legal research, preparation of affidavits, writing legal arguments, and submitting applications for immigration benefits. Learn more.

Innocence/Wrongful Convictions

The Innocence/Wrongful Convictions Clinic joins organizations throughout the United States in seeking to free or obtain new trials for wrongfully convicted individuals. Students take on direct representation of wrongfully convicted and potentially innocent defendants in Tennessee. Students work on all aspects of the cases, including investigation, preparing post-conviction motions, conducting hearings, arguing motions, and filing appeals. The clinic also works to raise public and political awareness of the prevalence and causes of wrongful convictions. Learn more.

Mediation and Family Mediation

The Mediation Clinic promotes the use of mediation as an alternative dispute resolution process. The clinic often serves lower-income or legally underserved groups. Following intensive training, students co-mediate client disputes with experienced volunteers. The clinic satisfies the training requirements to become a Rule 31-certified mediator in Tennessee. In addition, the Family Mediation Clinic focuses on mediation process, theory, strategy, tactics, and skills in the context of family law disputes. Students study and develop these skills through readings, simulations, and service as mediators in the Knox County Juvenile Court and other settings. The clinic satisfies the Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 training requirements for certification as a family law mediator. Learn more.

Non-Profits

Students of the Non-Profits Clinic represent non-profit organizations in the Knoxville area while developing skills essential to the ins and outs of business law practice, including client interviewing, client counseling, document drafting, and business planning. Students counsel clients on choosing a legal entity, forming non-profit corporations, and obtaining tax-exempt status. Learn more.

Wills

The Homer A. Jones Jr. Wills Clinic gives students real-world experience in trust and estate matters through their work with economically disadvantaged clients. Students interview clients; draft wills, living wills, and trusts; and handle probate matters. The clinic was established with a grant from the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) Foundation. Continued support comes from an endowment established with a generous gift from Homer A. Jones Jr., an ACTEC fellow who practiced in Bristol, Tennessee. Learn more.

Mini-Clinics

Expungement

Students and faculty of the Expungement Clinic help individuals expunge charges from their criminal records. The clinic’s services are free, as law students gain valuable real-world experience while working with those in need of legal assistance. Learn more.

Federal Clemency

This mini-clinic represents clients serving lengthy sentences in federal prison who are eligible for amnesty under a program established by the US Department of Justice. Learn more.

Practicums

Education Law

Knoxville-area students and families seeking special-education services are the main clients of the Education Law Practicum, which offers them pro bono help. The practicum helps local students and their families obtain equal access to justice on various non-criminal infraction “status offense” cases ranging from skipping school to violating curfews. Learn more.

Environmental

The Environmental Practicum gives students the opportunity to affect environmental law and policy in Tennessee. Students help local governments, state agencies, landowners, and non-profit organizations develop quality land-use and growth-management policies and practices. The clinic coordinates its efforts with UT graduate students of ecology, environmental design, wildlife ecology, and other disciplines. This allows students and faculty to work with other disciplines in integrated environmental decision-making and problem-solving, which improves their ability to understand, communicate with, and influence other disciplines. Learn more.

Externships

UT Law offers three externship programs designed to expose students to all aspects of the public legal system. The Judicial Externship, the Prosecutorial Externship, and the Public Defender Externship pair students with experienced members of the state and federal court systems. Learn more.