While each student’s experience will vary depending on their project(s), students typically conduct legal and factual research, draft different types of documents, such as comments, briefs, letters, and memos, meet and strategize with clients and allies, and attend meetings with agency staff.

In addition to the working on the cases and projects, students attend seminars averaging 4 hours per week.  (The seminar are more frequent at the beginning of the semester than at the end).  Some seminars cover topics such as administrative practice, professional responsibility and working with clients, legal writing, an overview of FTC Act Section 5, statutory interpretation and appealing agency orders.

Most seminars require reading and some involve role playing or short writing assignments.  Others seminars are geared to what is going on at the time in the clinic or in the field.  For students may attend a moot court or oral arguement, watch a Congressional hearing or an agency meeting, or participate in an educational event related to the work of the clinic.

In addition, each student will have the opportunity to present and discuss a news article of their choice, so long as it is related to communications and technology law.

Credits: 12

Duration:  One semester

Number of participants:  6-8 students per semester

Open to:  2Ls and 3Ls (at least 30 credits)

Average time commitment:  42 hours per week

Prerequisites:  None, but it is recommended that applicants take one or more of the following classes:  Administrative Law, Communications Law, Privacy, or any of the courses in the Intellectual Property, Entertainment, and Technology cluster.

Participation in this clinic does not require student bar certification.

Expected learning outcomes:

Knowledge of substantive and procedural law.  Students will learn basic concepts of administrative law, including agency rulemaking procedures, and judicial review.  Students will be exposed to how federal policy is made by observing and analyzing the interactions between the Congress, the administration, administrative agencies, trade associations, public interest groups and other stakeholders

Ability to engage in legal analysis.  Students will increase their ability to analyze case law, constitutions, statutes, and regulations.  They will learn and apply theories of statutory interpretation in actual cases.  They will understand the role of case law (including consent decrees) in administrative practice and appreciate the advantages/disadvantages of making policy on a case-by-case basis versus through notice & comment rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Ability to communicate effectively. .Students should improve their legal writing through drafting and redrafting documents in feedback to comments of supervisors and clients.  Significant class time is spent learning approaches to writing in general and in writing specific types of legal documents.  In class and in supervision meeting, issues discussed include understanding the difference between objective analysis and advocacy; learning how to craft a persuasive argument or response;  recognizing how the purpose and intended audience influence the writing; using appropriate tone;  using the appropriate format; including the appropriate level of support;  and the importance of proofreading and correct citations.  Students give oral presentations to other students and sometimes clients or agencies.  They will receive feedback on these presentations from faculty, fellows and other students. Students learn that they need to prepare for and practice oral presentations.  They learn when and how to use visuals such as Powerpoint.  By having multiple opportunities to make presentations and to get feedback, students should become more comfortable with oral communications.

Ability to use problem-solving and collaborative techniques in the legal context. Students learn to work collaboratively by working in teams.  Students practice and recognize the benefit in having others read and comment on their work product.

Ability to engage in critical and strategic thinking. Students learn to think through different possible scenarios and to assess relative benefits and risks of taking a certain course of action.

Understanding of the rules, ethics, and values of the legal profession, such as honesty, civility, work-ethic, and the centrality of a commitment to one’s clients and to the legal system.  Students are expected to become familiar with the DC Rules of Professional Conduct, to be sensitive to possible ethics or rule violations, and to discuss any concerns with their supervisor.  They are also expected to become familiar with the rules of practice and procedure of the agencies or courts involved in their projects.

Learn to be an effective advocate.  Students understand that in public interest practice, it is not enough to simply draft effective filings.  Often they will need to meet with agency decisionmakers or Congressional staff.  They may work with coalitions to build public support.  They learn when media coverage is useful and how to obtain it.

Learn how to working with clients.  This includes learning how to establish and maintain good communications, building trust, and managing client expectations.  Students also learn how to address issues that can arise when the client is an organization or coalition of organizations.

Gathering and using facts.  Student learn how to identify and locate the facts relevant to their projects.  This may involve asking questions, conducting social science research, consulting experts in a particular field, and learning about the technologies at issue in their cases.