Federal Legislation Clinic
The Federal Legislation Clinic (the Clinic) teaches law students how to become effective "legislative lawyers."As conceptualized by the Clinic's founder, former Professor Chai Feldblum, a legislative lawyer is a person who is trained to:
- recognize and assess legal and political aspects of legislative, regulatory, or policy issues;
- perform the background research necessary to address legal and political issues;
- develop creative solutions to problems posed by legal and policy concerns;
- present such solutions in clear and persuasive oral and written forms; and
- engage in the negotiations necessary to ensure the adoption of legislative solutions.
Through field work with organizational clients, classroom instruction and discussion, as well as intensive exercises, the Clinic trains law students (in the Clinic, called Student Advocates) to be ready to practice effectively on Day One of a job in Congress, the Executive Branch, or the advocacy community.The Clinic thus serves two missions:we undertake projects that advance the public interest by providing quality representation to our non-profit clients, and we provide Georgetown law students with valuable training, supervision, and hands-on experience as legislative lawyers.
This Clinic focuses on the ways in which practice in and before Congress and the Executive Branch is unlike practice before Article III courts.Congressional and administrative legal processes produce law and policy under very different rules and procedures.Decision-makers are sometimes non-lawyers.Advocacy, briefings, and other activities often occur under timelines far shorter than a typical court filing deadline or oral argument, and sometimes in unstructured and informal settings.Participants must think through what the law could or should be, not just what it is or was at the time a case or controversy arose.Legislative lawyers must be creative problem-solvers with diverse tool boxes of lawyering skills.
The Clinic trains students to analyze fully the legal, process, policy, political, and personality (LP4) aspects of their client's or principal's options, preferences, and obligations.Students learn to write and speak both precisely and concisely.The Clinic also emphasizes self-reflective lawyering, and practicing with integrity despite serious pressures of time, personality, and consequence.While the Clinic focuses on training legislative lawyers, many of the skills honed in the Clinic are transferable and useful in any practice environment.
The Clinic's Dual Mission
We undertake projects that advance the public interest and provide quality representation to our non-profit clients. At the same time, we provide Georgetown law students with the training, supervision, and field experience necessary for them to become effective in advocacy to or practice within the federal Legislative and Executive Branches.