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Clinic Guidelines

Clinic Requirement  |  Prerequisites  |  Conflicts  |  Student Practice  |  Summary Table  |  Clinic Lottery 


Clinic Requirement

In order to graduate with a Juris Doctor degree, each student must earn credit in at least two of the School of Law's seven-credit clinics, one of which  must be a direct client service clinic. In order to enroll in a clinic, students must meet the prerequisites described below. Students are assigned to clinics based on a lottery, also described below.


Clinic Prequisites

In order to be eligible to enroll in Clinic, students must successfully complete Lawyering Process I and II. See Student Handbook, Sec. 3.5.2. Some of the School's clinics have additional eligibility requirements related to conflicts of interest and practice before the D.C. courts. Please read the following provisions. A table summarizing each clinic's requirements appears below.


Conflicts of Interest

Legal Prohibition

Federal Law 18 U.S.C. § 205, prohibits federal employees from litigating against the United States and DC employees from litigating against the District of Columbia. Violation of the statute calls for criminal penalties. The maximum penalty includes a $10,000 fine, 2 years imprisonment or both.


  • students who will work for the Federal government during clinic may not participate in the Immigration & Human Rights Clinic, Juvenile & Special Education Law Clinic or Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, and

  • students who will work for the District of Columbia during clinic, including students who will receive work study funds and those who will be employed as teaching assistants, may not participate in the Juvenile & Special Education Law Clinic.

Exceptions: The law does not apply to "special government employees,” which includes (among others) reserve officers and officers in the National Guard, unless they are voluntarily serving an extended period of active duty, and students whose entire period of government employment lasts less than 130 days (roughly equal to a semester) in a given year. See 18 U.S.C. § 202 for the definition of "special government employees.”

Also note that, for most students, the conflict law will apply only if you will continue to work for the government while you are taking clinic. See 18 U.S.C. § 207 regarding conflicts for former government employees.

Additional Conflict Check

After students are assigned to clinics, the professors will conduct an additional conflict check to determine whether a student's current or former employment, or other affiliation, presents an actual or potential conflict of interest for existing or former clients to whom we still owe a duty of care.


Student Practice

Several of the School's clinics regularly practice before the D.C. Courts, and will ask students to apply for permission to practice under D.C. Court of Appeals Rule 48.

In order to be approved, a student must complete (by the start of clinic) 41 course credits, including Evidence, Criminal Procedure, and Civil Procedure; be certified by the Registrar; and have his or her application - which includes questions about the applicant's character - approved by the DC Court of Appeals' Committee on Admissions.

Students who enroll in the Criminal Law Clinic or the Housing & Consumer Law Clinic must be eligible to apply for permission to practice (i.e. must have completed 41 credits, including Evidence, Civil Procedure and Criminal Procedure, and anticipate application approval).

Students enrolled in the General Practice Clinic practice before D.C. Courts regularly, and students enrolled in the Juvenile & Special Education and Low-Income Taxpayers Clinics practice before D.C. Courts occasionally. Students who are not eligible to practice in D.C. Courts may enroll in these clinics, but will not be assigned to D.C. Court cases. 

Students should review the application prior to the Clinic Lottery. A copy of the application and instructions for getting the Registrar's certification are on the Student Practice page.


Summary: Conflicts & Student Practice Requirements

Clinic May Federal Employees Enroll? May DC Employees Enroll? Is Eligibility to Practice in DC Courts Required?
Community Development Yes Yes No
Criminal Law Yes Yes Yes
General Practice Yes Yes Strongly suggested but not required.
Government Accountability Yes Yes No
Housing & Consumer Yes Yes Yes
Immigration & Human Rights No Yes No
Juvenile & Special Education No No Helpful but not required.
Legislation Yes Yes No
Low-Income Taxpayers No Yes Helpful but not required.



Clinic Lottery

In order to assign students to clinics, which have limited enrollment, the Registrar asks students to rank their clinic preferences and uses the rankings to conduct a random lottery. This method is designed to accommodate the first choice of as many students as possible.

In order to participate in the lottery, students must submit a Clinic Preference Form, which is available for a limited period prior to Registration (dates are announced by the Registrar). Students with a clinic requirement who do not submit a Clinic Preference Form are randomly assigned to whichever clinics have remaining slots after the lottery. Once assignments are made, the only way to change clinics is by swapping places with another student and both students notifying the Registrar of the swap before the end of the Add/Drop period.

Before submitting a Clinic Preference Form, students should familiarize themselves with each clinic's rules regarding student practice and conflicts of interest.

Students who wish to earn extra credit in their current clinic and students who wish to take a third clinic as an elective should NOT complete the Clinic Preference Form. Rather, those students should complete an Elective/Extended Clinic Form (.pdf), including required signatures, and submit it to the Registrar. It would be beneficial for students seeking to earn extra credit in their current clinic to submit the Elective/Extended Clinic Form prior to the next semester's registration period.



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