Clinics, Externships, and Legal Practicum
The law school’s location gives Scalia Law students unparalleled opportunities to gain substantial practical experience while in law school and the ability to earn credit for the work they do. Students may enroll in multiple practice-oriented courses, including the programs listed below, subject to Academic Regulation 3.3-1, which addresses the number of out-of-class credits and pass/fail (or “CR”) credits students may count toward their degree. Additional information regarding the clinics, externship programs, and legal practicum described below can be found in the Career and Academic Services Office, Suite 150.
The Administrative Law Clinic is offered in partnership with Consovoy McCarthy Park PLLC, and will involve students in all aspects of the administrative process: from monitoring agency activity, to participating in ongoing matters, to analyzing relevant legislative proposals, to writing briefs on important administrative-law issues. The Clinic will provide students with the opportunity to work closely with Consovoy McCarthy Park attorneys on behalf of pro bono clients to identify subjects of interest, research administrative-law issues, and draft comments and briefs before agencies and in active litigation. (Additional information about the firm and the attorneys is available at: http://consovoymccarthy.com/). The Clinic classroom component is held in the evenings. Space is limited, and students must have completed Administrative Law (or agree to take Administrative Law concurrently) to be eligible to apply for the Clinic. Students apply via Symplicity.
Students accepted for Spring 2017 who complete all course requirements will receive two (2) graded in-class credits. After its inaugural semester in Spring 2017 and pending faculty approval, the Clinic will be a year-long letter graded course providing two (2) in-class credits in the fall and in the spring semester. For more information about the program’s requirements, please see the Information Packet for the Legal Clinic — Administrative Law Clinic.
The Arts & Entertainment Advocacy Clinic teaches students the legal and policy skills required for engaging with Congress, agencies, and courts on behalf of copyright owners. Under the supervision of Professor Sandra Aistars, students will develop substantive legal knowledge in copyright and related areas of law as well as practical skills in research, writing, and advocacy by counseling clients and preparing legal and policy documents. Students’ work product will be submitted on behalf of non-profit organizations, individual artists and creators, small businesses, and CPIP in multiple institutional settings in which copyright law and policy are developed. Students may also have the opportunity to participate in specialized artist counseling sessions organized by entities such as the Authors Guild and Slamdance Independent Film Festival and to complete special projects at the invitation of the U.S. Copyright Office. Because this is an advocacy clinic, projects will vary depending on developments in Congress, the courts, and relevant agencies. In addition to direct instruction from Professor Aistars, students will also meet with and learn from relevant government officials and experienced practitioners. Some classes may be scheduled as visits to agencies, Congress and/or the White House.
This clinic is a graded course offered in the fall and spring, and students may receive 3 credits total each semester (2 in class credits and 1 out of class credit). Space is limited, and interested students should submit a short (500 words or less) statement of interest. Registration is open only to students who have taken Copyright Law, Intellectual Property Law, or Entertainment Law.
For more information about the program’s requirements, please see the Information Packet for the Arts & Entertainment Advocacy Clinic.
The Free Speech Clinic provides students with the opportunity to engage in pro bono legal representation of free speech claims under the First Amendment claims. Clinic students work closely with experienced attorneys to identify cases of interest, research legal issues, and draft motions and briefs. In addition to working with attorneys on cases, students accepted into the clinic will receive weekly classroom instruction on procedural and substantive issues relevant to their cases, federal and state court decisions, and relevant developments in First Amendment law.
Students will be selected to participate in the clinic through an application process prior to class registration. To be eligible, students must submit a 500-word statement of interest, resume, and law school transcript. Preference will be given to students who have completed Constitutional Law I. There are no prerequisites.
The clinic is a two semester (fall and spring), graded class, with two credits awarded each semester. For more information about the program's requirements, please see the Information Packet for the Legal Clinic - Free Speech.
The Immigration Litigation Clinic, offered in partnership with Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC), is a year-long clinic (fall and spring semesters) that allows students to gain translatable skills and valuable perspectives on immigration law, specifically the deportation process and federal habeas corpus litigation. Through the Clinic, students provide direct representation to individual clients by litigating asylum cases before the Arlington immigration court and on appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Fourth Circuit, while also gaining experience in complex federal litigation focused primarily on habeas corpus petitions for immigrants challenging their detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Students acquire concrete litigation skills (trial skills in immigration court, discovery and motions practice in federal district court, and appellate practice) that will be valuable to a wide range of future employers, from private firms with federal litigation practices to civil rights and legal services firms. Each Clinic student will have the opportunity to handle individual clients’ asylum matters as well as be part of a team working on high impact litigation cases.
Students participating in the Clinic earn four letter-graded credits each semester (for eight credits total). Two credits each semester are in-class credits, and two credits are out-of-class. The Clinic is open to students who have completed their first year of law school (2L, 3L, 4E students). There are no course prerequisites (the immigration law necessary for clinic matters will be taught during the classroom component of the course).
The Innovation Law Clinic provides teams of students the opportunity to counsel entrepreneurs, creators, and inventors from the university’s internal and external communities. The clinic teaches entrepreneurship and commercializing innovation and creativity, as well as how to craft an overall legal strategy to match a client’s vision.
Students in the Innovation Law Clinic learn from local practitioners, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and faculty from Scalia Law. In the near future, students and faculty from other academic units across George Mason University will be able to join the Clinic as well. Under Professor O’Connor’s supervision, as well as the supervision of other local attorneys, students analyze their clients’ technology, creative innovation, business plan, and legal documents to produce a confidential “Innovator’s Roadmap” tailored to the client’s vision and needs.
Interested students should apply for one of three tracks (business law; IP; or tax) after completing the prerequisite to the introductory course for that specialty. Preference will be given to students who have taken more than one course in their selected specialty area.
The Law and Mental Illness Clinic allows students to gain practical experience in the judicial, legislative, academic and advocacy aspects of the law concerning the treatment of individuals with severe mental illness. The classroom component of the course studies the history and development of laws affecting the mentally ill, while also preparing the students for representation of petitioners during civil commitment hearings. Students may locate and interview witnesses, appear at commitment hearings, perform direct and cross-examinations and present legal argument. This course is a letter-graded course offered in the fall and spring, and students may receive 3 credits total (2 in-class credits and 1 out of-class credit). Space is limited, and registration is open to students who have completed their first year of law school. For more information about the program's requirements, please see the Information Packet for the Legal Clinic—Mental Illness.
MVETS was founded in 2004 in response to 9/11 and the desire of the law school community to help active-duty members of the armed forces and their families for whom retaining counsel would be an undue hardship. Students have represented clients from all armed services in civil litigation; adjudication and negotiation regarding consumer protection; and administrative law, bankruptcy, family law, landlord-tenant, contract, military law and entitlement matters in federal and state forums. Students are supervised by Clinic Director Laurie Forbes Neff and private practitioners with subject matter expertise, and receive weekly classroom instruction on legal ethics, client interviewing, procedural and substantive issues relevant to their cases, and national-security developments relevant to the client population they serve. This course is a graded course offered year-round. Students enrolled in the fall or spring may earn 2 in-class credits, and students enrolled in the summer may earn 1 in-class credit and 1 out-of-class credit. Space is limited, and registration is open to students who have completed their first year of law school.
In this clinic, students write actual applications that will be filed for inventors. The students are each assigned an invention, and work directly with the inventor(s) to write a patent application covering the invention. Students are instructed as to best practices before meeting with the inventor(s) and drafting the application, and then are critiqued regarding their written patent applications. The patent applications will be written in stages, including invention disclosure considerations, drawings, claims, and specification, with critique on each step in the process. Multiple drafts of the complete application will be written and critiqued until it is ready for filing. This course is a graded course offered in the spring and counts as a writing (W) course towards the upper-level writing requirement. Students may earn 2 credits total (1 in-class credit and 1 out-of-class credit). Space is limited, and registration is open only to students who have taken Patent Law I, Patent Law II, Patent Writing Theory and Practice or equivalent experience. For more information about the program's requirements, please see the Information Packet for the Legal Clinic - Practical Preparation of Patent Applications.
The Supreme Court Clinic provides pro bono legal representation before the United States Supreme Court. The year-long clinic provides Scalia Law students with the opportunity to work closely with experienced attorneys to identify cases of interest, research legal issues, and draft Supreme Court briefs on behalf of parties and amici at both the certiorari and merits stages.
The Supreme Court Clinic is directed by William S. Consovoy and Thomas R. McCarthy from the law firm of Consovoy McCarthy Park, PLLC. Mr. Consovoy and Mr. McCarthy are 2001 graduates of the law school. Mr. Consovoy previously clerked for Associate Justice Clarence Thomas of the United States Supreme Court and Chief Judge Edith H. Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Mr. McCarthy previously clerked for Chief Judge David B. Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Judge Frank W. Bullock Jr. of the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.
In addition to working on Supreme Court cases, students accepted into the clinic will receive classroom instruction, analyze federal and state appellate decisions for possible litigation opportunities, and attend at least one Supreme Court argument per Term.
The clinic is a two semester (fall and spring), graded class, with two credits awarded each semester. Space is limited, and students must have completed Constitutional Law I: Structure of Government in order to be eligible for the clinic. Applications are available through CAAS.
For more information about the program's requirements, please see the Information Packet for the Legal Clinic – Supreme Court.
In the Regulatory Comments Legal Practicum students engage in the federal regulatory process by analyzing an active regulation and filing public comments (from a public interest perspective) with a federal agency. The course combines practical lectures with workshops on how to analyze regulations and effectively communicate ideas. Students are taught by adjunct professor Jerry Brito, who is affiliated with the Mercatus Center, and adjunct professor Bridget Dooling with the Office of Management and Budget and also work with a mentor on their regulatory comment. In addition to drafting a public comment, students present their analysis through a mock hearing and op-ed. This course is offered only in the spring semester; students may receive 2 in-class, graded credits for completing this course. Space is limited and is open to students who have completed their first year of law school.
Members of the bankruptcy bar in Northern Virginia run a free Bankruptcy Assistance Clinic to help individual consumers with questions or problems related to bankruptcy, including how to prepare voluntary bankruptcy petitions and other papers that must be filed to initiate a bankruptcy case. These will be individual consumers who cannot otherwise afford to engage and pay for an attorney to help them prepare the necessary papers. Students are invited to participate in the court clinic through a one-credit externship program. Students will conduct initial interviews of the individual consumers in order to identify for the attorneys the help the individuals need. This is an opportunity for students to have direct client contact and counseling along with experienced bankruptcy lawyers. The course will meet at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 200 South Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month. Students must have previously taken a course in Bankruptcy Law or must receive permission of the instructor to participate. Special permission will be granted to students who have not taken Bankruptcy Law but have clerked for or otherwise worked for a bankruptcy lawyer or a bankruptcy judge. Students completing the course will receive one out-of-class credit and the course will be graded “CR/NC.” The course is offered in the Fall, Spring, and Summer. For more information about the program’s requirements, please see the Information Packet for Supervised Externship - Bankruptcy.
George Mason’s Supervised Externship – Capitol Hill program presents students with the opportunity to experience the intersection of law and policy by earning credit for unpaid work in Capitol Hill offices or committees; in government affairs offices of agencies, corporations, or nonprofits; trade associations; in lobbying firms, and with government affairs groups within law firms. Scalia Law has a rich history of graduates with prominent positions “inside the Beltway” and through this program students will be introduced to the extensive alumni network of the Scalia Law Capitol Hill Law & Economics alumni group. Students who have secured their own positions with the employers described above or students who would like assistance with placement are eligible for this program.
Associate Dean for Professional Development Victoria Huber directs the program. Students will earn 3 out-of-class credits for 180 hours of fieldwork. Space is limited for those students seeking placements. Applications to be placed are available through CAAS. Students seeking placement may participate in this program twice, subject to space and professor's approval. Students who have secured their own placements may participate more than two times. For more information about the program’s requirements and application process, please see the Supervised Externship - Capitol Hill Information Packet.
Through this program, students are placed as interns throughout Northern Virginia, including in Judges' Chambers, the Office of the Public Defender, the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney, a City or County attorney’s office, Legal Aid, or in a private attorney's office. Heavy emphasis is placed on developing students’ litigation skills. Lecturer in Law Michael L. Davis directs this program, determines individual placements, monitors students’ progress, and coordinates with field supervisors. This pass/fail program is offered year-round, and students will earn 3 out-of-class credits for 180 hours of field work. Space is limited. Students must submit an application to CAAS and interview prior to registering for this program. Applications are available through CAAS. Students may participate in this program twice, subject to space and professor's approval. For more information about the program’s requirements and application process, please see the Supervised Externship – Virginia Practice Information Packet.
Through this program, students have undertaken externships in such varied places as the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Communications Commission, Capitol Hill, the Nature Conservancy, the Recording Industry of America, a variety of federal and state courts, the Alexandria Commonwealth Attorney's Office, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Legal Services offices across the country, and more. Students secure these unpaid internships on their own in a variety of ways, including through the job posting information available in CAAS and networking. This pass/fail program is offered year round, and students may earn 2 out-of-class credits for 120 hours of field work completed over the course of a semester or 3 out-of-class credits for 180 hours of field work. Students must attend tutorials during the semester. Students may register for this program after having their internship and field supervisor approved by the course instructor. For more information about the program's requirements and application process, please see the Externship Information Packet.