The Advocacy Clinic is the longest-running legal clinic in the United States and remains one of the most successful programs of its kind.
In this clinic, students represent their own clients in various types of legal disputes involving criminal, housing, and juvenile law. Under Tennessee’s Student Practice Rule, students who have reached their fourth semester of law school, are allowed to represent clients under the supervision of faculty members. Client representation requires students to engage in the full range of lawyer duties, beginning with client interviews and proceeding through factual investigation, case development, negotiation, and often on to hearings or trial. Thus students, develop a wide range of lawyering skills, including:
- fact investigation
- client interviewing and counseling
- witness interviewing
- developing of case strategy, theme, and theory
- drafting and arguing pretrial motions
- trial preparation and presentation
- negotiating with opposing parties
- developing and exercising professional judgment
The Advocacy Clinic functions like a law firm, with the entire “firm” meeting weekly with clinic faculty and guest speakers to discuss cases, tactics, applicable law and strategy.
The Advocacy Clinic is a six-credit course, offered fall and spring semesters, and occasionally during summer semesters. Students who wish to enroll in the Advocacy Clinic must have taken Evidence and must either have taken or be taking Legal Profession.