Students in the Domestic Violence Clinic (DVC) represent victims of intimate abuse in civil protection order (CPO) cases. These orders typically include a broad spectrum of relief, including safety and housing provisions as well as temporary custody, visitation, and support. Working intensively with faculty and fellows, clinic students learn to engage in client-centered representation and to exercise strategic judgment in legal representation. The Clinic uses reading assignments, seminar class, simulated skills exercises and live client representation to teach students to excel in every phase of expedited civil litigation, including pretrial skills (developing a case theory, conducting a client counseling session, conducting client and witness interviews, investigating a case, and conducting a negotiation) and trial skills (presenting opening statements, witness direct and cross examinations, introducing exhibits into evidence, and delivering closing arguments).

The DVC’s mission:

  • Provide law students with an intensive, challenging education in the art of trial advocacy;
  • Provide high quality representation to indigent victims of domestic abuse.

Clinic students have full responsibility for their cases and receive a challenging education in the art of trial advocacy under the intensive supervision of Clinic faculty. Clinic participants become intimately familiar with the extensive family law provisions applicable to their cases, as well as civil procedure and legal ethics. Students gain expertise in the law of evidence, typically handling exhibits including photographs, tape recordings, weapons, police reports, and medical records. In addition, students learn to navigate the criminal justice system by working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in prosecutions against their clients’ abusive partners. In addition, students use their client representation experience to develop ideas about and implement systemic reform.

Clinic students learn to:

  • Provide highly effective client representation;
  • Become creative, independent thinkers;and
  • Increase the effectiveness of civil and criminal justice system interventions in domestic violence situations.

Clinic Logistics


Semester, Fall or Spring

Number of Participants:
12 students per semester

Open to:
Second semester 2Ls, all 3Ls and 4Es

Average Time Commitment:
35 hours per week