The newly renovated LSU Law Center Clinical Legal Education space was formally dedicated and opened at ceremonies held on Friday, August 21, 2009 at the Law Center. Also, twenty third-year law students were administered the oath to practice in the clinical program.
Chancellor Jack M. Weiss presided over the ceremonies and addressed the crowd of students, family, faculty, staff, and special guests gathered for the special day. The Honorable James L. Dennis, Judge, U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and a 1962 graduate of the Law Center, administered the oath under Rule XX of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
LSU System President John Lombardi congratulated the students and the Law Center on bringing the dream of a law clinic to reality. Frank Neuner, a 1976 graduate and Chairman of the Louisiana Public Defender Board, reminded students of the importance of public service, while Professor Robert Lancaster, Director of the LSU Law Center Clinical Legal Education Program and the J. Noland and Janice D. Singletary Professor of Professional Practice, encouraged students to take seriously their role as advocates for clients in actual disputes.
“Clinics have two major purposes,” said Weiss, “They provide a unique form of education for our students, and they also provide the community with high quality, low cost legal representation for people who are under represented. We want to be an outward looking law school connected to the community of which we are a part.”
The renovated space consists of almost 5,000 square feet and is designed similarly to a functioning law office. Located in the basement of the Old Law Building, the space includes three client interview rooms and a classroom/conference room equipped with state-of-the-art technology, reception area, student work space, faculty offices, and secure file rooms.
Students sworn in today for participation in the clinical program include: Daniel Bailey; Devon Bardin; Sarah Cable; Carolyn Cole; Andre Collins Gaudin; Bruce Hamilton; Deshaun Hayes; Penny Hargis; Bryant Harvey; Christopher Kinnison; Rachael Marcus; Frannie Montegut; Ross Murray; Wesley Root; Robert Savage; Richard Scandrett; Nichole Schulte; Elizabeth Spurgeon; Lynn Musumeche Stevens; and, Victoria Williams.
Third-year law students are allowed to practice law in a clinical environment pursuant to Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XX. Students are provided experiential opportunities and earn credit while learning through practice. They are placed with state and local governmental agencies and courts, giving them experience in the real practice of law through a structured academic setting.
The LSU Law Center’s Clinical Legal Education program includes a Domestic Violence Clinic, Immigration Legal Services Clinic, Juvenile Representation Clinic, and a Family Mediation Clinic. The Center works closely with several organizations in the Baton Rouge area, including Capital Area Legal Services, the East Baton Rouge Juvenile Court, and the Domestic Violence shelter, among others. Clients must be referred to the LSU Law Clinic by one of these agencies.
In addition, 27 law students are participating in the Law Center’s Externship Program. Fourteen students have been placed in the Judicial Externship program, earning credit working in the chambers of state and federal judges. Thirteen students are participating in the Louisiana Department of Justice Externship that places students with the Attorney General’s Office.
An open house and tours followed the formal ribbon cutting.
For additional information on the Center’s Clinical Legal Education program, view the website.