Free Clinic: Gaining Clinical Training Without a Formal Organization

Vol. 42 No. 4

By

Ed Finkel is a freelance writer/editor in Evanston, Illinois.

Many law students avail themselves of pro bono opportunities through their law school’s clinic or other internal structure set up to provide such experiences. But what if the demand for pro bono exceeds the supply—or a particular school’s clinical program doesn’t match a student’s career ambitions? Further, what happens when the number of students seeking clinical or pro bono experience exceeds the available opportunities?

Plenty of opportunities exist for students seeking to chart their own course, so long as they realize that in the absence of their law school they still need a suprervisor’s steady hand. They are strongly advised to offer their services through some sort of existing organization rather than attempting to carve out a niche and approach clients directly, said legal services attorneys.

“My first advice would always be, try to partner with an existing agency to see if they can help you develop an opportunity that meets your interests,” said Michael Bergmann, executive director of the Public Interest Law Initiative in Chicago.

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