College of Law

We have reason to celebrate

Over the past 70 years, the University of Tennessee Legal Clinic has helped law students develop the lawyering skills and professional judgment they need. The clinics have also advanced the cause of justice by serving thousands of indigent clients unable to afford legal representation.

Founded in 1947 by Charles H. Miller, who was hailed as a pioneer in legal education, UT’s is the longest-running legal clinical program in the United States. The Legal Clinic is among the best legal clinic programs nationally and ranks high among clinical programs at public universities.

The clinic effectively serves a dual purpose. It helps students learn to build attorney-client relationships and understand the professional obligations that accompany those relationships. The students’ service empowers clients to find solutions to legal and other problems. We are privileged to offer this service learning opportunity to students while serving the people of Tennessee in our surrounding communities.


Legal Clinic 70th Anniversary events:

Throughout the fall semester, we are planning a series of events to coincide with our 70th Anniversary celebration. Two of our featured guests will help us better understand important aspects of our legal past and future.

Real People: The Story of Ed Johnson
Featuring Mark Curriden
Sept. 13, 2017

4 p.m. – 6:10 p.m.

College of Law, Room 132

Mark Curriden

Mark Curriden is a lawyer and journalist for The Texas Lawbook, The Dallas Morning News and the ABA Journal.

Author of the best-selling book “Contempt of Court: A Turn-of-the-Century Lynching That Launched a Hundred Years of Federalism,” Curriden will share the story of Ed Johnson, a young black man from Tennessee who was falsely accused of rape and railroaded through the criminal justice system. Curriden will discuss details of Johnson’s case including his heroic lawyers – the first lawyers of color to be lead counsel in a case before the Supreme Court.

Experts say this little-known case dramatically reformed the American justice system and redefined the practice of law. It showcases the first and only criminal trial ever conducted before the Supreme Court.

Curriden will be joined by panelists including Professor Dwight Aarons; Judge Neil Thomas, the great nephew of Ed Johnson’s defense attorney, W.G.M. Thomas; Sam Elliott, historian and UT Law alumnus; and Michelle Phillips Schrader, community activist working to commemorate Mr. Johnson.

Two hours DUAL CLE credit available. Click here to learn more. To register, email Micki Fox,

Oct. 9, 2017

12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

College of Law, Room 132

Vanita Gupta

Vanita Gupta is the President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and is the former head of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Under her leadership, the department issued its report on the operations of the Ferguson, Missouri’s police department in the Aug. 9, 2014 death of Michael Brown. Gupta graduated from Yale University and from NYU School of Law. Before going to the Justice Department, she worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and the ACLU. While at the ACLU, Vanita won a landmark settlement on behalf of immigrant children who had been detained in a private prison in Texas. While at the Legal Defense Fund, she negotiated a $6 million settlement on behalf of individuals who were wrongfully convicted in Texas.

She has been prominently featured in recent news stories by the Huffington Post, the New Yorker and many other publications.


Nov. 17, 2017

Anniversary Celebration

On the evening of Nov. 17, we’ll gather at The Emporium in Knoxville for a look back over the clinic’s 70 years of accomplishments. Past directors and faculty, along with current professors, clinic staff members and students, will share insights about our history, where we are now and where we’re headed.

If you plan to join us for the celebration, please register here.


Anniversary Celebration Accommodations

Hotel blocks are available at the Homewood Suites by Hilton and at the SpringHill Suites at the group rate of $189 per night.

Booking Link for Homewood Suites: Homewood Suites group rate-Reunion and Clinic Anniversary

Booking Link for SpringHill Suites: SpringHill Suites group rate-Reunion and Clinic Anniversary