Lobeck Taylor Family Advocacy Clinic

Read the Report: Assessing the Cost: Criminal Fines, Court Costs, and Procedure versus Practice in Tulsa County (PDF)

Listen to StudioTulsa's 6.18.14 interview with Professor Anna Carpenter and Quinn Cooper about the project

 



The Lobeck Taylor Family Advocacy Clinic at The University of Tulsa College of Law is an intensive, one-semester course that offers students the unique opportunity to gain hands-on lawyering experience and explore the ethical, strategic, and theoretical dimensions of legal practice.  In the Clinic, student attorneys engage the skills and values of effective lawyering by solving real-life legal problems in a structured learning environment.  Through direct representation of clients, intensive supervision from faculty, peer-to-peer interaction, and weekly seminars, student attorneys are prepared for the effective and responsible practice of law.

Service and Social Justice

In keeping with the dual social justice and pedagogical missions of clinical legal education, the FAC will offer legal services and engage in law reform and systems change work on behalf of--and in collaboration with--underrepresented groups and individuals.  In addition to providing services to the community, the FAC’s mission includes an explicit commitment to challenging students to reflect on their role in our legal and justice systems.  The FAC devotes a significant portion of its case and project work to issues that affect low-income women and children.

Family Advocacy Clinic Cases and Projects

In the Family Advocacy Clinic, student attorneys serve the community by providing representation that increases access to justice for low-income individuals and families, as well as advocacy, capacity-building, and systemic reform on behalf of non-profit organizations and community groups.  Currently, Family Advocacy Clinic students handle two types of matters during their time in clinic: individual representation cases and advocacy projects.

Cases
In cases, each student represents a client from the beginning of a case through final adjudication.  Cases may involve traditional areas of poverty law practice.  At this time, student attorneys represent victims of intimate partner violence and stalking in protective order cases in Tulsa County District Court.  Through case work, students develop strengths in legal analysis, argument, and strategic thinking in the context of ongoing litigation.  Students learn essential elements of legal practice including client interviewing and counseling, fact investigation, witness preparation, negotiation, oral advocacy, drafting motions, examining witnesses, and presenting evidence.  In addition, students develop their understanding of professional responsibility as they grapple with ethical issues that arise in legal practice.

Projects
In projects, students work in teams to solve legal problems outside the context of litigation.  Project-based work may involve, for example, problem-solving and strategic planning for community groups in Tulsa, developing advocacy campaigns to advance policy change, or designing and providing self-help programs and brief advice to low-income litigants in Tulsa courts.  Through this work, students develop strengths in complex problem-solving, strategic planning, strategic communication, negotiation, collaboration, and project management.  Projects challenge students to find creative solutions to complex or ill-defined problems that have no clear litigation remedy, to understand how lawyers might have a role in solving such problems (including when lawyers need to collaborate with other professionals or lay experts), and to take into account the textured social and political aspects of complex socio-legal problems.

Learn more about the clinic’s project work, including how to become a client, visit the Projects page.

What Students Can Expect from the Clinic

Each student attorney represents at least one client in a direct representation case and handles one project.  Students work in teams of two in cases, in terms of two to four in projects, and assume primary responsibility for their work.  Professor Carpenter, the clinic director, provides comprehensive and personalized supervision while challenging students to practice extensive self-reflection and critique.

The Clinic course includes case-related work, regular meetings with the Clinic director, and a weekly seminar.  The seminar is highly interactive; students are required to complete assignments each week and must be prepared to participate during seminar.  Students should expect to spend an average of 15-20 hours per week on case-related work (in addition to seminar preparation and in-class time).  In some weeks the time demands may be lower, while some weeks require much more time.  In addition, the demands of particular cases may require work on evenings and weekends or travel to meet with clients or witnesses.  The Clinic course is four to six credit hours (the credit hours of the Clinic will be finalized and posted during the annual clinic application process, which takes place in March of every spring semester).

Clinic Seminar

All student attorneys attend a weekly seminar taught by the Clinic director where they learn substantive law, reflect on the challenges of legal practice, assist one another with case development, and practice essential lawyering skills.  The vast majority of seminar time involves simulation exercises, collaborative work, and other interactive learning methods.  The seminar covers areas including but not limited to:

  • Substantive Law
  • Evidentiary Rules and Court Procedure
  • Local Judicial and Legal Systems
  • Professional Ethics
  • Client and Witness Interviewing
  • Fact Investigation and Development
  • Client Counseling and Communication
  • Negotiation
  • Professional Communication and Collaboration Skills
  • Litigation Skills and Trial Advocacy: Case Theory, Trial Planning, Opening and Closing Statements, Direct and Cross Examination, Oral Argument, and Motions Practice

Prerequisites

To enroll in the Family Advocacy Clinic, students must have an approved Oklahoma Legal Intern License or a pending application for a Legal Intern License.  Students must be in their second or third year during the time they are enrolled in the Clinic and must have completed (or be concurrently enrolled in) Evidence and Professional Responsibility.
Please contact Professor Carpenter with any questions about the Clinic, the Clinic application process, or the Legal Intern License.  The clinic application and enrollment process takes place annually each spring.  More information is available on the Clinic Application Deadlines and Details page.


Family Advocacy Clinic Director:
Professor Anna Carpenter
918.631.5860
anna-carpenter@utulsa.edu