Legal Clinic

  • Capital University Law School’s Legal Clinic provides no-cost legal services to a variety of individuals who would otherwise be unable to afford legal representation. The Clinic also provides students with the opportunity to develop and enhance their client counseling skills and professional ethics by representing indigent clients under the careful supervision of law professors and staff attorneys.

    In addition to providing a valuable service to the community, students experience directly the excitement of legal practice. There is no more exhilarating feeling than standing up in court before a judge to advocate for your client. The comprehensive nature of the clinic immerses each student in the human drama inherent in actual client representation.

    Intent on fostering an appreciation of the vital intersection of law and complex human problems, Capital University Law School’s Legal Clinic gives students the experience, tools, and outlook they need to construct and implement creative, practical solutions to tomorrow’s legal questions. In a supportive, supervised environment that provides a unique opportunity for hands-on learning, students perform as attorneys representing actual clients in a wide variety of legal proceedings. Through various cases, they develop essential lawyering skills such as interviewing, negotiation, client counseling, fact investigation, conducting legal research, drafting legal documents, conducting direct and cross-examination, oral advocacy, case management, and theory and strategy development. Recently, two students drafted briefs and successfully argued cases before the Tenth District Court of Appeals on an environmental case and a misdemeanor traffic case.

    The real-world backdrop of the clinical program not only fosters the development of lawyering skills, it also promotes a fuller understanding of substantive areas of law. By tackling the multiple issues raised in each case, Interns learn that the boundaries that compartmentalize law courses fade in actual practice.

    Students are assigned cases in the following areas:
    Criminal Defense: Students are assigned cases in which they represent indigent clients accused of a variety of criminal offenses. By working on behalf of clients on misdemeanor charges brought in the Franklin County Municipal Court, students get a firsthand look at the court system. Complex strategy and client counseling issues are among the challenges encountered. From the initial appearance at arraignments through final case disposition, Students speak in court on behalf of clients charged with misdemeanors, as well as probation violations.

    Criminal Prosecution: Students may choose to prosecute misdemeanor cases in mayors’ courts. This involves appearing in mayor’s court and working with the city prosecutor or village solicitor in resolving various complaints. This entails plea negotiations as well as trials.

    Domestic Relations: Students are assigned to represent clients in both divorce and dissolution actions. Typically a student is able to work on a domestic case from the initial interview to the final hearing before a judge in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations.

    Tenant Rights & Issues: Students provide representation to people facing eviction, needing assistance to assert their right to habitable housing, assistance in recovering their security deposit or defending damage suits. They have the primary responsibility for negotiating with either the opposing party or their counsel and representing their client in the eviction hearing.

    Wills and Related Documents: Students are assigned cases dealing with simple estate planning. In this area, students interview clients and based upon the information obtained, and the wishes of the clients, prepare Wills, Living Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care, and General Durable Powers of Attorney.

    General Civil Matters: Students are assigned to represent clients in civil matters including foreclosures, consumer complaints, defense of personal injury suits and various other civil matters. In these cases, Interns will represent the client in both Municipal Court as well as the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

    Family Advocacy: Students work with victims of domestic violence who are seeking Civil Protection Orders, or with contested custody cases.

    Course of Study 

    The Legal Clinic is a course offered to third-year day and fourth-year evening students.
    Legal Clinic can be taken in the fall and spring semesters for three (3) credit hours each semester. Clinic students should expect to be assigned a case in each of the practice areas, i.e. criminal, domestic, landlord tenant, wills and civil matters. Students are given access to the Legal Clinic 24 hours a day and are permitted to work on their cases in the Clinic or at home.

    Legal Intern’s License
    Rule II of the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio allows law students, who are in good standing and have completed two-thirds of their required hours to graduate (58 hours) to obtain a Legal Intern’s license for the limited practice of law. With a Legal Intern’s license, students are permitted to represent clients in civil matters and criminal misdemeanor cases, all under the supervision of a licensed attorney.

    To apply for an Intern’s License, Students can pick up an application from the Registrar’s Office or from the Legal Clinic. Send the completed application to the Ohio Supreme Court along with a bank check or money order for $25.00. An Intern’s License will be issued by the Court and sent to the Legal Clinic.

    Questions regarding the procedure for obtaining an Intern’s License, or general questions regarding the Legal Clinic can be addressed to any of the Clinic Faculty or Staff.