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Clinics & Other Practice Experiences

USC Gould School of Law

Gain invaluable, hands-on legal training through our clinics and practicums. These experiential learning programs develop and hone lawyering skills of the highest caliber, building on more than 85 years of clinical education leadership. They help you build a bridge from law school to legal practice, connecting substantive classroom knowledge to foster a strategic, rather than a formulaic, approach to clients' needs.

Students gain a leg up on their peers by developing the ability to:

  • interview, counsel and advise clients
  • represent clients in court
  • conduct legal research and analysis
  • investigate and evaluate facts
  • draft briefs, contracts and agreements
  • negotiate and solve problems
  • collaborate with other students and attorneys

Clinics

Our clinical offerings are more in-depth and supportive than those at most law schools, which often provide only semester-long or simulated clinical experiences. Our yearlong clinics provide deep and impactful experiential learning — and often offer a second-year advanced clinic for select students. Our six clinics give students significant experience working directly with real clients under the supervision of seasoned practitioners who are leaders in their field:

  • Immigration Clinic

    Immigration Clinic

    Our Immigration Clinic provides pro bono representation to clients from all over the world who are seeking asylum and other forms of humanitarian protection.

  • Immigration Clinic

    Intellectual Property and Technology Clinic

    Our Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic supports clients at the leading edge of burgeoning issues in the information age, including copyright and trademark protection, privacy and First Amendment rights.

  • Immigration Clinic

    International Human Rights Clinic

    From war crimes and genocide to human trafficking and crimes against humanity, our International Human Rights Clinic serves victims of some of the most urgent and devastating issues facing society.

  • Immigration Clinic

    Mediation Clinic

    In our Mediation Clinic, students develop conflict resolution skills to mediate real cases at the Los Angeles County Superior Court in this rapidly growing area of the law.

  • Immigration Clinic

    Post-Conviction Justice Project

    Students in our Post-Conviction Justice Project represent clients at parole hearings, litigate petitions for writs of habeas corpus and help provide a second chance at justice for life-term inmates.

  • Immigration Clinic

    Small Business Clinic

    Students in our Small Business Clinic handle more than 100 transactional legal matters each year for startup companies, entrepreneurs and nonprofits.


More than 1,000 students have represented nearly 5,000 clients through our clinics. Community impact ranges from helping a small-business owner form a new entity to releasing someone who served 32 years in prison for a crime committed by her batterer.

The skills developed through our clinics transfer seamlessly to practice no matter what area of the law you end up pursuing. Most students cite their work in a clinic as the highlight of their law school experience.

Practicums

Explore a substantive legal issue in depth while gaining hands-on experience working with clients through one of our practicums:

Access to Justice Practicum

Work closely with faculty and outside advocates on real-world projects involving important civil rights, poverty law or access to justice issues for low-income people. You will join a project team and gain experience in litigation, amicus briefs and/or drafting legislation, reports or advocacy manuals.

Past projects have included:

  • foster care impact litigation cases
  • a report on working conditions in California's underground economy
  • amicus briefs to the Ninth Circuit, California Supreme Court and California Court of Appeal in housing, disability rights, Freedom of Information Act and labor cases

Up to four JD students may enroll in the practicum, and you will receive academic credit for the course.

Children's Legal Issues Practicum

Assist a family from start to finish in finalizing a foster child adoption and gain experience in California's child welfare system, juvenile court system, and foster care and adoption law. You will also learn about special education and mental health services for foster children with special needs, as well as techniques to successfully advocate for eligibility and increased funding.

Under the supervision of a public counsel attorney, students:

  • conduct new client interviews
  • complete legal documents
  • assess legal issues
  • assess the level of services and benefits received by children
  • assist attorneys with casework
  • conduct legal research

Up to five JD students may enroll in the practicum, and you will receive academic credit for the course.

Medical-Legal Community Partnership Seminar and Practicum

Partner with students from the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the USC Price School of Public Policy to work in medical-legal community partnerships with attorneys from Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County.

Learn about legal issues including access to medical care and addressing community barriers to health, such as medical debt, income and food insecurity, employment issues, landlord/tenant disputes, immigration and family law.

Under the supervision of an attorney, you will:

  • interview clients
  • draft legal memoranda and legal advice or advocacy letters
  • work on litigation and policy advocacy
  • resolve cases

Up to eight JD students may enroll in the practicum, and you will receive academic credit for the course.

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