Clinic and volunteer opportunities allow students to experience law practice from initial client contact to courtroom representation under attorney supervision. Lawyering skills such as interviewing, counseling, negotiation, and trial practice are fostered in these learning environments. Participation in these experiential programs enables Santa Clara students to serve the social justice needs of the surrounding community, while enhancing their legal education.
- The Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center (KGACLC) provides free legal services to low-income residents of Santa Clara County. Through its legal clinics, KGACLC offers free legal advice in the areas of Immigration, Consumer Rights and Workers’ Rights. Law students can sign up for the Skills 1 and Skills 2 courses offered by the KGACLC in the aforementioned areas. These courses involve an extensive classroom component that is complemented by hands-on experience as students handle legal procedures that may be as simple as writing a demand letter or as involved as preparing for and taking a case to court, all under the supervision of experienced attorneys. Many students cite their experience at the Community Law Center as “one of the best things” they ever did to launch their legal careers.
- The Pro Bono Recognition Program works with students to identify volunteer placements with practicing attorneys in a number of legal organizations, including a district attorney or public defender’s office, as well as pro bono placements to benefit clients who cannot afford legal services. Student placements offer experience in a range of legal issues, including immigration and political asylum, housing and eviction, environmental law, and child advocacy. Students volunteering at least 50 hours per year receive special recognition.
- The Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) is a clinical program developed by the Santa Clara University Criminal Defense Clinic. NCIP identifies prisoners with innocence claims and provides direct services to them. NCIP serves as a resource center for the legal community in innocence cases.
- The Death Penalty Clinic provides students with the opportunity to be involved in the defense of a capital case. Each student will be paired with an attorney who represents a person either charged with or convicted of a capital offense. The student will be involved in the preparation of both the guilt phase and the penalty phase including gathering of physical and forensic evidence, preparation of discovery requests and responses, investigation and preparing life histories and mitigating evidence and maintaining regular client contact.