Real-World Training at Utah Law
Experiential learning – learning through practical experience – is a critical component of every student’s training at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. In experiential courses, including in-house clinics, externships, and simulations, students get hands-on experience and individualized training that bridges the gap between the classroom and real-world lawyering. All students must complete six credits of experiential coursework before graduating. Many students choose to do more. See below for more information.
Many of our students find that a clinic experience is the most valuable, rewarding and challenging part of law school.
Clinic students learn through real-world work, intensive seminars, and regular meetings with faculty supervisors. Every clinic student gains valuable skills, knowledge, and mental habits that help prepare them for a successful practice. They also gain deep insight into the strategic, ethical, and relational dimensions of the legal profession.
Creative Advocacy Lab
The Creative Advocacy Lab explores modes of legal advocacy beyond traditional client representation, re-envisioning lawyers as community educators, problem-solvers, and storytellers. In collaboration with community partners, students will use creative tools—like design thinking, narrative, plain language writing, and visual communication—to make legal information accessible to those who need it.
Advanced Creative Advocacy Lab
Students who have completed one semester of Creative Advocacy Lab may enroll as advanced students in subsequent semesters. This opportunity is reserved for Creative Advocacy Lab students whose learning and advocacy goals align with a community partner’s need to design legal informational resources.
Environmental Justice Clinic
The Environmental Justice Clinic partners with low-income communities and communities of color to challenge the inequitable distribution of environmental burdens and benefits and ensure meaningful participation in environmental decision-making. Students enrolled in the clinic use a range of tools and an interdisciplinary approach to advance environmental justice.
Refugee Law Clinic
The Refugee Law Clinic offers students the opportunity to represent refugees and other immigrants who are seeking protection from persecution in their country of origin. The clinic partners with organizations serving the refugee and immigrant community in Utah. Students assist clients with accessing resettlement benefits (including work authorization), applications for asylum and other humanitarian forms of protection, and other legal projects and policy initiatives to advocate on behalf of the immigrant and refugee community in Utah.
In externships, students earn academic credit while gaining practical skills and training under licensed attorneys in the field. S.J. Quinney has a wide variety of externship placements in over a hundred different settings across more than a dozen different areas of law, and new placements are developed every semester.
Simulation courses engage students in dynamic, real-world lawyering tasks based on hypothetical scenarios. From the annual simulation in Global Perspectives on Counterterrorism to closing arguments in Trial Advocacy, from conceptualizing large-scale projects in Real Estate Development to drafting divorce settlement agreements in Family Law Practice Lab, students build concrete skills to be practice ready.
Innovation for Justice (i4J)
Housed at both the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and the University of Utah Eccles School of Business, Innovation for Justice (i4J) applies design- and systems-thinking methodologies to expose inequalities in the justice system and create new, replicable, and scalable strategies for legal empowerment. Courses include Innovating Legal Services, UX4 Justice, and Leadership in Legal Innovation.
Experiential Learning FAQs
Yes. All students must complete at least 6 credit hours of experiential coursework before graduation. Clinics, externships, practicums, and simulation courses count toward this requirement.
- There is no cap on clinic course credits. However, you may enroll in each clinic only once.
- You may take a total of 14 credit hours in the Externship Credit course. Externship credit hours count toward the 18 ungraded credits you can take before graduation.
Yes! No matter the subject matter, each clinic teaches essential skills of legal analysis, strategic thinking, planning, problem solving, ethics and managing client relationships. All of which are transferable to any legal practice.
- You may take a clinic in your second or third year.
- You may complete an externship beginning in the summer after your first year. The only exception is the full-year Criminal Process Externship, which is only for third-year students.
The Criminal Process Externship requires Evidence and Trial Advocacy as pre-requisites. Criminal Procedure is also recommended. It must be taken no later than fall of the third year because it is required by the rule that authorizes law students to appear in court. Students completing their first externships must enroll in either Learning from Practice or Criminal Process as a co-requisite. And during their second externship, students are required to take Advanced Learning from Practice as a co-requisite.
Sure thing. You can take a one-semester criminal externship as early as the summer after the first year. However, only students who meet the requirements of the student practice rule may appear in court.
- Clinics are graded and are not subject to the mandatory curve.
- Externship Credit is an ungraded, pass-fail course. The classroom courses students take in conjunction with an externship are generally graded and not subject to the mandatory curve.
- Clinics require 42.5 hours of work per credit hour.
- Externships require 50 hours of work at the externship site per credit hour. This does not include work in any required classroom course.
Externships are offered year-round, and students can find and apply for externships on 12Twenty by searching for “Extern (For Credit)” positions. Students can also request to be matched, or they can locate their own externship with the approval of the Director of Externships. Clinics and practicums are offered in fall and spring semesters, with fall applications accepted in March and spring applications accepted in October each year.
This is generally discouraged and will only be permitted in unique circumstances.
|Creative Advocacy Lab
||Externships||Innovation For Justice
|Professor Hallie Jay Pope
Visiting Associate Professor (Clinical)
Director of Experiential Learning
Academic Program Manager
|Professor Stacy Butler
Adjunct Professor and Director of i4J