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. 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 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 educational and legal mission is to:

  • 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 develop a wide range of essential lawyering skills, including:

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

We pride ourselves on creating a warm and supportive community in the Domestic Violence Clinic. Faculty provide both the educational scaffolding and the practical feedback students need as they make the transition from law student to practicing attorney. The DVC faculty are also fully conscious of our broader mentoring role: we fully invest ourselves and our time in each of our students, we are dedicated to helping our students find their individual lawyering voice, and we are available to our students long past graduation and into their lawyering career. Our students are committed to each other as well; every semester, there’s a real sense of family in the Domestic Violence Clinic.