Clinic/Externships Course Descriptions

Business and Tax Clinic

Business and Tax Clinic

Pre-requisite: Completion of first year curriculum. Pre- or co-requisite: Ethics.
Preference: Completion of Federal Income Tax and any Business Law courses.

Summer 2013--Prof. Nathalie Martin, Prof. Grace Allison
Fall 2013--Prof. James Butler, Prof. Mary Pareja
Spring 2014--Prof. James Butler, Prof. Mary Pareja

This clinic section is part of the law school's Economic Development program.  Although specific types of client matters cannot be guaranteed, the Business and Tax Clinic will emphasize the following:

  • student representation of low-income taxpayers in disputes before the IRS and the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, including Tax Court litigation, audit defense, and collections matters;
  • assistance to startup and established nonprofit organizations seeking IRS recognition of tax-exempt status and other operational assistance;
  • support of community-based efforts to promote economic development; and
  • legal services to low-income, small-business clients who cannot afford to hire a lawyer.

Small-business cases will likely include the following:

  • giving advice on the choice and formation of business entities;
  • drafting organizational documents;
  • reviewing and drafting leases, purchase and licensing arrangements and other contracts; and
  • resolving business disputes.

Cases and instruction will also include matters of personal interest to a new lawyer seeking to open his or her own practice.  We strive to provide a broad-spectrum experience, including pure transactional practice (small business startup, contract drafting), dispute resolution (IRS controversy, small case business controversies) and consumer protection (bankruptcy, foreclosure defense and consumer credit dispute resolution).  

Clients of the law school’s Clinical Law Program include individuals and organizations that have multiple legal and non-legal needs and objectives.  Students of the Business and Tax Clinic often collaborate with students of the Community Lawyering Clinic or Southwest Indian Law Clinic in providing services to these clients.

Students will be required (1) to attend and actively participate in up to five classroom sessions (ten during summer’s first three weeks) during each week of the academic semester and (2) to maintain, in addition to classroom hours, a schedule of 24 (2-hours block) fixed office hours (physically present in the clinic, working on clinic matters) each week during Summer, or 16 (2-hours block) fixed office hours each week during Fall and Spring semesters.

Students having specific questions about the Business and Tax Clinic are encouraged to visit with Profs. Allison, Butler, Martin, or Pareja.

Community Lawyering Clinic

Community Lawyering Clinic

Pre-requisite: Completion of first year curriculum. Pre- or co-requisite: Ethics.

Summer 2013--Prof. Aliza Organick, Prof. Sarah Steadman
Fall 2013--Prof. Yael Cannon, Prof. Sarah Steadman
Spring 2014--Prof. Carol Suzuki, Prof. Camille Carey

The Community Lawyering Clinic provides outreach legal services in partnership with local community service providers, including non-legal disciplines.  Through the Medical/Legal Alliance for Children (MLAC) the Clinic has entered into a strategic alliance (the nation’s first) with the Pediatrics Department of the UNM Health Sciences Center.  MLAC law students represent children, caregivers, and families to address non-biological factors affecting children’s health including food, housing, education, physical safety (domestic violence), caregivers’ relationships and conflicts over custodial rights, immigration status, involvement in the criminal justice system, and availability of healthcare and other benefits.  Students represent clients in Family Court, Children’s Court (juvenile delinquency), and other venues as necessary.  In addition to the MLAC, the Community Lawyering Clinic collaborates with PB&J Family Services, the NM Public Defender and organizations serving families of incarcerated and addicted individuals, seniors, and HIV-positive people.  Students work under law professor supervision and on interdisciplinary teams when appropriate.  Clients include speakers of English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Students will be required (1) to attend and actively participate in up to five classroom sessions (ten during summer’s first three weeks) during each week of the academic semester and (2) to maintain, in addition to classroom hours, a schedule of 24 (2-hours block) fixed office hours (physically present in the clinic, working on clinic matters) each week during Summer, or 16 (2-hours block) fixed office hours each week during Fall and Spring semesters.

Students having specific questions about the Community Lawyering Clinic are encouraged to visit with Profs. Cannon, Carey, Organick, Steadman, or Suzuki.

Law Practice Clinic

Law Practice Clinic

Pre-requisite: Completion of first year curriculum, Pre-or-co-requisite: Ethics

Summer 2013--Prof. Steven Homer
Fall 2013--Prof. April Land
Spring 2014--Prof. Aliza Organick

The Law Practice Clinic will emphasize the development of professional skills and values by assigning students to represent clients in a variety of both civil and criminal cases.  In their casework, students will be individually and closely supervised in their representation of low-income clients.  Each student will be assigned a mix of cases typical of a general law practice in New Mexico with some opportunity for a more specialized type of practice taking into account each student's preferences and career plans, available faculty resources and client and community needs.  Among other practice areas, case matters may involve juvenile delinquency defense, family law, criminal misdemeanor defense, landlord/tenant, contract disputes, wills and immigration.  The Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters will provide more focus in the area of juvenile delinquency and criminal defense.  The emphasis on student casework is to give law students direct experience with live clients and real cases and to provide close individual and collaborative faculty supervision.  In addition to providing real world experience, students are encouraged to develop and explore the professional dimensions of client-oriented problem solving.  Students are expected to develop and assume full professional responsibility for competent, professional and ethical decision-making in helping their clients solve their legal problems.

The classroom component seeks to help prepare students to represent his or her clients competently, to promote professionalism in dealing with clients, lawyers, staff and others; and to provide experience in individual and collaborative problem solving.  Classroom sessions include discussion of pending clinic cases and assigned readings; role-play and simulation; and collaborative planning and evaluation.  The classroom component typically addresses such skills and topics as:  client interviewing and counseling, case evaluation, legal research, fact investigation, drafting documents and correspondence, motion practice, discovery, negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, procedure, case management, law office management, the use of computer technology in the law office, and professional responsibility and ethics.

Students will be required (1) to attend and actively participate in up to five classroom sessions (ten during summer’s first three weeks) during each week of the academic semester and (2) to maintain, in addition to classroom hours, a schedule of 24 (2-hours block) fixed office hours (physically present in the clinic, working on clinic matters) each week during Summer, or 16 (2-hours block) fixed office hours each week during Fall and Spring semesters.

Students having any questions about this clinic are encouraged to visit with Profs. Homer, Land, or Organick.

Southwest Indian Law Clinic

Southwest Indian Law Clinic

Pre-requisite: Completion of first year curriculum and a qualifying Indian Law course. Students will not be enrolled without the pre-requisite Indian law course. Pre-or-co-requisite: Ethics

Summer 2013--Prof. Barbara Creel
Fall 2013--Prof. Barbara Creel
Spring 2014--Prof. Christine Zuni Cruz

Background –The Southwest Indian Law Clinic (SILC) provides high quality legal representation and clinical practice experience in Indian Country.  SILC is pro-active in the advocacy, promotion and establishment of indigenous people’s rights.  SILC students may represent individual clients and/or tribal groups or Indian communities.  Through representation, students may be exposed to issues arising from historical oppression, poverty and under-representation, and other issues related to culture, race and socio-economic status in the legal system.   Students are taught to approach legal solutions premised on tribal sovereignty, cultural rights or traditional internal law, as well as general legal principles.

Type of Case Work – The type of case work depends largely on the existing caseload and new case intake, but the Clinic experience is also driven by individual student interest and energy. 

The Southwest Indian Law Clinic handles cases arising under federal, state or tribal law. Students may have opportunities to appear in all courts and to assist clients in access and use of tribal traditional dispute resolution in their community.  SILC cases allow students to engage in vigorous defense, active motion practice and extensive brief writing.  These cases typically involve people that would go without representation, but for SILC. 

Clients – Potential clients come from the outlying and nearby Pueblos and tribal communities, and the urban Indian population.  In addition to serving walk-in clients, SILC may provide legal services or intake at community intake sites in and around Albuquerque.  Students may also engage in project work with tribal governments, non-profit organizations and non-governmental Indian organizations. 

Clinic Class and Office hours –  Students will be required (1) to attend and actively participate in up to five classroom sessions (ten during summer’s first three weeks) during each week of the academic semester and (2) to maintain, in addition to classroom hours, a schedule of 24 (2-hours block) fixed office hours (physically present in the clinic, working on clinic matters) each week during Summer, or 16 (2-hours block) fixed office hours each week during Fall and Spring semesters.

Classroom learning complements and supports both the high quality representation and professionalism in all dealings with clients, staff, supervisors, the judiciary, opposing parties and others.  Classroom discussions of pending cases and assigned readings; role-play and simulation; and cultural and racial literacy exercises enable students to practice and gain confidence in skills such as, client interviewing and counseling, advocacy, and communication.

Questions about the Southwest Indian Law Clinic?  Please feel free to visit with Profs. Creel or Zuni Cruz.  Have a great Clinic experience!

Alternative Dispute Resolution Externship

Alternative Dispute Resolution Externship (ADR)

Course Description

Prerequisite: Completion of first year curriculum.

The Alternative Dispute Resolution [ADR] extern program places students as dispute resolvers or assistants in dispute resolution organizations dealing with mediation, arbitration, facilitation, and summary jury trials.

While working with their supervising attorney, judge or ADR facilitator, students have the opportunity to gain valuable practical skills in a real world setting. The ADR Extern program is intended to supplement and complement the knowledge and experience students receive in the Law Practice Clinic and in their other law school courses. In the extern program, students have the opportunity, under close supervision, to confront actual legal problems and to analyze and explore the various roles that lawyers, judges or legal institutions play in the ever-expanding role of alternative dispute resolution. In their placements, students have the opportunity to interview and work with clients, negotiate with lawyers and others, and generally to perform and learn the various tasks and skills necessary to help a particular client or situation resolve its legal problems.

The ADR supervisor, with whom a student is placed, is expected to provide students with training in skills regarding the aspects of mediation, arbitration, and facilitation and summary jury trials. Students are expected to master a significant body of substantive and procedural law relative to the legal problems that they confront. Whenever ethical issues arise, the ADR supervisor is expected to explore these issues in depth with the student.

ADR extern placements are most successful when students are given as much professional responsibility for decision-making and interaction with the clients as possible and when the supervision is active and close, but not so directive as to interfere with the student's ability to exercise personal professional responsibility. The ADR supervisor should be involved in every aspect of the student's work. The ADR supervisor should be prepared to provide constructive critiques, encourage growth and development, and, if necessary, protect clients and the public from the mistakes that can be made by student lawyers. The ADR’s supervision comes before, during, and after the student works on a problem. For example, if a case is to be resolved or mediated by the student, the student presents a negotiation plan to their ADR supervisor before the negotiation, which is then followed by a post-negotiation review and critique by the ADR Supervisor.

Supervision Under Rules Governing Student Practice

Students enrolled in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Extern Program are governed by N.M.R. Civ. Pro. 1-094 and Rule 83.11 of the Local Rules for the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. Students are required to conduct themselves at all times within the spirit and meaning of the Rules of Professional Conduct. ADR supervisors must be sure that students understand and follow these rules.

Under these rules, students are granted the privilege to practice law while under the supervision of a properly licensed attorney designated by the Dean of the Law School and while the student is currently enrolled in the Law School clinical program. A lawyer other than the lawyer designated by the Law School as the student's supervisor is permitted to supervise the student only with the prior permission of the Law School. N.M.R. Civ. Pro. 1-094 provides:

1-094. Clinical Education.

  • Purpose. To permit a clinical program for the University of New Mexico School of Law.
  • Procedure. Any law student admitted to the clinical program at the University of New Mexico School of Law shall be authorized under the control and direction of the Dean of the Law School to advise persons and to negotiate and to appear before the courts and administrative agencies of this State, in civil and criminal matters, under the active supervision of a member of the State Bar of New Mexico designated by the Dean of the Law School. Such supervision shall include assignment of all matters, review and examination of all documents, and signing of all pleadings prepared by the student. The supervising lawyer need not be present while a student is advising a client or negotiating, but shall be present during court appearances. Each student in the program may appear in a given court with the written approval of the judge presiding over the case and shall file in the court a copy of the order granting approval. The Law School shall report annually to the Supreme Court.
  • Eligible Students. Any full-time student in good academic standing in the University of New Mexico School of Law who has received a passing grade in Law School courses, and have completed their first full year of twenty nine (29) or more semester hours (or their equivalent), but who has not graduated, shall be eligible to participate in a clinical program if he/she meets the academic and moral standards established by the Dean of the School of Law.
  • Effective Date. This Rule shall be effective after May 15, 1970. [As amended, effective May 1, 1986, January 1, 1995; November 24, 1997].
  • D.N.M.LR-Cv 83.11 provides:

    83.11 Clinical Law Student Practice. Any law student admitted to the clinical program at the University of New Mexico School of Law shall be authorized under the control and direction of the Dean of the Law School to advise persons and to negotiate and to appear before this Court in civil and criminal matters under the active supervision of a member of the bar of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, designated by the dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law. Such supervision shall include assignment of all matters, review and examination of all documents and signing of all pleadings prepared by the student. Before a student appears in court, an order authorizing the student's appearance shall be of record.

    Effective Date. July 27, 1992.

    Students and ADR supervisors participating in the program are responsible for insuring that the supervisory requirements of these Rules are followed.

    The Law School requires law students enrolled in clinical courses to fully disclose to all persons with whom they deal that they are clinical law students and not licensed attorneys. A law student without the prior consent of the ADR supervisor should represent no client or organization.

    Fieldwork

    ADR Externships are with practicing lawyers at government offices or non-profit agencies in the State of New Mexico. The ADR supervisor may be working with a public agency, such as, the All externships must be approved by the Externship Professor.

    Second externships must involve a substantially different educational experience. For example, students are not permitted do two criminal law office externships. A student seeking a second externship must obtain academic advisement with the Externship Professor, and obtain written approval from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

    Compensation

    Students are not permitted to be paid for the hours they work in the ADR Extern Program. Students receive three credit hours for successfully completing an ADR externship. The credit hours earned in the externship count toward the hours required to graduate from Law School, but they do not count toward the Law School clinical course requirement of six credit hours earned in an "in house" clinical course.

    Prerequisites

    Mediation Training or Alternative Dispute Resolution classes are required in order to complete an ADR externship. Please check with the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs regarding waiver of any prerequisites prior to course registration.

    Office Hours and Class

    During the Fall or Spring semesters, students are required to work twelve (12) hours each week, for fourteen (14) weeks in their extern placement, for a total of 168 hours to earn 3 credits. Students are required to work eight (8) hours each week, for fourteen (14) weeks in their extern placement, for a total of 112 hours to earn 2 credits.

    In the Summer semester, students work sixteen (16) hours each week, for ten (10) weeks in their extern placement, for a total of 160 hours to earn 3 credits. Students are required to work a total of 104 hours in their extern placement to earn 2 credits.

    A set schedule of office hours must be arranged with a student's assigned ADR supervisor during the first week of the semester. The hours are to be set during the ADR supervisor’s usual office working hours. A copy of the schedule is delivered to the lawyer and to the Director of the Clinical Law Program.

    The actual hours worked by the student generally conform to the scheduled office hours. With the permission of the ADR supervisor, some flexibility is allowed to accommodate special circumstances, such as, illness or opportunity to engage in a particularly exciting educational experience outside of the regularly scheduled hours. A student is not allowed to accumulate hours for the purpose of working fewer weeks. Exposure to the ADR extern experience over the course of a full semester is an essential component of the overall educational program.

    The Externship Professor will arrange class sessions to be held during the semester. Attendance of the classes is mandatory, and the hours spent in these classes count as part of the weekly office hour's requirement.

    Activity Reports and Confidentiality

    Every two weeks, students must submit activity reports to the Externship Coordinator. These reports account for the manner in which a student is spending his or her time in the extern placement. The reports must be sufficiently detailed to present a clear description of what activities the student has been pursuing and what the student is learning. The reports must contain the date of the student activity, a description of the activity, and the total amount of time expended on each day's activities. It is essential to the ADR Extern Program that the ADR supervisor feels free to communicate with the law student extern. Confidentiality of these communications must be assured. Students are strictly cautioned against breaching confidences and can be disciplined by the Law School for a breach of a confidential relationship. Discipline may include dropping the student from the extern course with a failing grade. In order to insure that confidences are not breached, the student extern and the student’s supervisor must sign all activity reports.

    Course Credit and Grading

    Law students receive three Law School credit hours for their work in the ADR Extern Program. The course is graded credit/non-credit, C-, D+, D, D-, or F. Whether credit is to be given is determined by the Externship Professor.

    Final Evaluation by the ADR Supervisor

    At the end of the semester, the ADR supervisor must submit a final evaluation of the student's work to the Externship Professor. The Extern Program Coordinator shortly before the completion of the semester will provide a copy of this form to the ADR supervisor.

    Conclusion

    This description of the ADR Extern Program is designed to anticipate common questions students and supervisors may have about the extern program. If questions or problems arise during the semester, do not hesitate to call the Externship Professor.

    The School of Law believes that placing the students in an ADR environment is a significant and valuable part of the educational program. We welcome suggestions for improvement from anyone interested in the program.

Judicial Externship

Judicial Externship

Course Description

Prerequisite: Completion of first year curriculum.

The Judicial Extern Program provides law students with a candid first hand experience in the judicial decision-making process. This is accomplished by placing students in a judge or justice's office for a specified number of hours each week to work directly with the judge in daily decision-making tasks.

Judges with whom students are placed are encouraged to maximize the educational experience by granting students access to events in the courtroom and in the judge's chambers. The judge should take time to explain his or her decision to the student and answer any questions. All facets of the judicial decision-making process should be open to discussion, including a candid critique of the quality of the presentations made by lawyers appearing before the judge. The judge should make an effort to introduce the student to other aspects of the daily working life of a judge which may influence the decision-making process, e.g., the judge's relationship to the clerk's office and other courthouse employees, the judge's administrative responsibilities for docket control, the judge's participation in judge's meetings, and the making and enforcement of courthouse policies and procedures.

Judges are encouraged to assign to the law student specific hands-on-tasks which will aid the student in becoming involved in the judicial decision-making process. These tasks may include such activities as summarizing case files, legal research, and document drafting. Judges should keep in mind that the quality of the educational experience for the law student is enhanced by both the depth and breadth of the tasks assigned. Judges are discouraged from overburdening the law student with research at the expense of a full exposure to judicial decision-making. No single task or narrow set of tasks should become the exclusive experience for the judicial extern and should not be assigned at the expense of the student's opportunity to observe and discuss the judge's daily decision-making. A judge may broaden and enrich a student's experience by occasionally requiring the student to observe or work with another judge.

Fieldwork

Judicial Externships may be with any New Mexico State Court Judge, including Metropolitan Court, District Court (general, family, or children's divisions), Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court Justices. Externships may also be with U.S. District Court Judges, U.S. Magistrate Judges, and U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judges and any Tribal Judge. Placements are made only with judges or justices who have expressed interest in supervising a judicial extern.

Students interested in Judicial Externship should contact the Externship Coordinator to ascertain the judicial externship application process. All Externships must be approved by the Law School.

Second externships must involve a substantially different educational experience. For example, students are not permitted do two judicial externships. A student seeking a second externship must obtain academic advisement with the Externship Professor, and obtain written approval from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Compensation

Students are not permitted to be paid for the hours they work in the Judicial Extern Program. Students receive three credit hours for successfully completing a judicial externship. The credit hours earned in the externship count toward the hours required to graduate from Law School, but they do not count toward the Law School clinical course requirement of six credit hours earned in an "in house" clinical course.

Office Hours and Class

During the Fall or Spring semesters, students are required to work twelve (12) hours each week, for fourteen (14) weeks in their extern placement, for a total of 168 hours to earn 3 credits. Students are required to work eight (8) hours each week, for fourteen (14) weeks in their extern placement, for a total of 112 hours to earn 2 credits.

In the Summer semester, students work sixteen (16) hours each week, for ten (10) weeks in their extern placement, for a total of 160 hours to earn 3 credits. Students are required to work a total of 104 hours in their extern placement to earn 2 credits.

A set schedule of office hours must be arranged with a student's assigned judge or justice during the first week of the semester. The hours are to be set during the usual working hours of the judge or justice. A copy of the schedule is delivered to the judge and to the Externship Coordinator.

The actual hours worked by the student should generally conform to the scheduled office hours. With the permission of the supervising judge or justice, some flexibility is allowed to accommodate special circumstances, such as, illness or opportunity to engage in a particularly exciting educational experience outside of regularly scheduled hours. A student is not allowed to accumulate hours for the purpose of working fewer weeks. Exposure to the judicial extern experience over the course of a full semester is an essential component of the overall educational program.

The Externship Professor will arrange class sessions to be held during the semester. Attendance of the classes is mandatory, and the hours spent in these classes count as part of the weekly office hour’s requirement.

with your supervising judge or justice and provide a copy to the externship coordinator.

Activity Reports and Confidentiality

Every two weeks, students must submit activity reports to the Externship Coordinator. These reports account for the manner in which a student is spending his or her time in the extern placement. The reports must be sufficiently detailed to present a clear picture of what activities the student has been pursuing and what the student is learning. The report must contain the date of the student's activities, a description of the activities, and the total time expended on each day's activities. It is essential to the Judicial Extern Program that the judge feel free to communicate with the law student. Confidentiality of these communications must be assured. Students are strictly cautioned against breaching confidences and can be disciplined by the Law School for a breach of a confidential relationship. Discipline may include dropping the student from the extern program with a failing grade. In order to insure that confidences are not breached, the student extern and the student’s supervisor must sign all activity reports submitted to the externship coordinator.

Course Credit and Grading

Law students receive three law school credit hours for their work in the Judicial Extern Program. The course is graded credit/non-credit, C-, D+, D, D-, or F.

Final Evaluation by the Supervising Judge or Justice

At the end of each semester, the supervising judge or justice must submit a final evaluation of the student's work to the Externship Professor. The Extern Program Coordinator shortly before the completion of the semester will provide a copy of this form to the supervising judge or justice.

Conclusion

This description of the Judicial Extern Program is designed to anticipate common questions students and designated supervisors may have about the extern program. If questions or problems arise during the semester, do not hesitate to call the Externship Professor.

The School of Law believes that placing students in a judicial environment is a significant and valuable part of the educational program. We welcome suggestions for improvement from anyone interested in the program.

Law Office Externship

Law Program Externship

Course Description

Prerequisite: Completion of first year curriculum.

Law Office Externs are law students who are placed under the supervision of a practicing lawyer to obtain knowledge and experience in the practice of law. While working with their supervising attorney, students have the opportunity to gain valuable practical skills in a real world setting. The Law Office Extern program is intended to supplement and complement the knowledge and experience students receive in the Law Practice Clinic and in their other law school courses. In the extern program, students have the opportunity, under the close supervision of a licensed attorney, to confront actual legal problems and to analyze and explore the various roles that lawyers or legal institutions play. In their placements, students have the opportunity to interview and counsel clients, negotiate with lawyers and others, make presentations in court, draft legal documents, interview witnesses, and generally to perform and learn the various tasks and skills necessary to help a particular client resolve his or her legal problems.

The lawyer supervisor with whom a student is placed is expected, to the extent possible given the lawyer's and student's special circumstances, to provide students with training in lawyering skills, such as, client interviewing, counseling, negotiation, legal drafting, case evaluation and planning, case management, time and office management, argumentation, and applied legal research. Students are expected to master a significant body of substantive and procedural law relative to the legal problems that they confront. Finally, but not of least importance, students should be exposed to the professional responsibilities of a lawyer. Whenever ethical issues arise, the supervising lawyer is expected to explore these issues in depth with the student.

Law office extern placements are most successful when students are given as much professional responsibility for decision-making and interaction with the clients as possible and when the lawyer's supervision is active and close, but not so directive as to interfere with the student's ability to exercise personal professional responsibility. The supervising lawyer should be involved in every aspect of the student's work. The lawyer should be prepared to provide constructive critiques, encourage growth and development, and, if necessary, protect clients and the public from the mistakes that can be made by student lawyers. The lawyer's supervision comes before, during, and after the student works on a problem. For example, if a case is to be negotiated by the student, the student presents a negotiation plan to the supervising lawyer before the negotiation, which is then followed by a post-negotiation review and critique, by the lawyer.

Research and drafting of legal memoranda are important lawyer tasks and should be required, as these skills are important to the competent handling of legal matters. Legal research is, however, not the exclusive skill of legal problem solving. In clinical placements, it is important not to let legal research become the exclusive or predominant task assigned to the student. In the clinical placement, students should be introduced to a broad range of clinical skills.

Supervision Under Rules Governing Student Practice

Students enrolled in the Law Office Extern Program are governed by N.M.R. Civ. Pro. 1-094 and Rule 83.11 of the Local Rules for the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. Students are required to conduct themselves at all times within the spirit and meaning of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Supervising lawyers must be sure that students understand and follow these rules.

Under these rules, students are granted the privilege to practice law while under the supervision of a properly licensed attorney designated by the Dean of the Law School and while the student is currently enrolled in the Law School clinical program. A lawyer other than the lawyer designated by the Law School as the student's supervisor is permitted to supervise the student only with the prior permission of the Law School.

N.M.R. Civ. Pro. 1-094 provides:

1-094. Clinical Education.

  1. Purpose. To permit a clinical program for the University of New Mexico School of Law.
  2. Procedure. Any law student admitted to the clinical program at the University of New Mexico School of Law shall be authorized under the control and direction of the Dean of the Law School to advise persons and to negotiate and to appear before the courts and administrative agencies of this State, in civil and criminal matters, under the active supervision of a member of the State Bar of New Mexico designated by the Dean of the Law School. Such supervision shall include assignment of all matters, review and examination of all documents, and signing of all pleadings prepared by the student. The supervising lawyer need not be present while a student is advising a client or negotiating, but shall be present during court appearances. Each student in the program may appear in a given court with the written approval of the judge presiding over the case and shall file in the court a copy of the order granting approval. The Law School shall report annually to the Supreme Court.
  3. Eligible Students. Any full-time student in good academic standing in the University of New Mexico School of Law who has received a passing grade in Law School courses, and have completed their first full year, but who has not graduated, shall be eligible to participate in a clinical program if he/she meets the academic and moral standards established by the Dean of the School of Law.
  4. Effective Date. This Rule shall be effective after May 15, 1970. [As amended, effective May 1, 1986; January 1, 1995; November 24, 1997].

D.N.M.LR-Cv 83.11 provides:

83.11 Clinical Law Student Practice. Any law student admitted to the clinical program at the University of New Mexico School of Law shall be authorized under the control and direction of the Dean of the Law School to advise persons and to negotiate and to appear before this Court in civil and criminal matters under the active supervision of a member of the bar of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, designated by the dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law. Such supervision shall include assignment of all matters, review and examination of all documents and signing of all pleadings prepared by the student. Before a student appears in court, an order authorizing the student's appearance shall be of record. A sample order is located in NM Rules Annotated 4-821.
Effective Date. July 27, 1992.

Students and supervising lawyers participating in the program are responsible for insuring that the supervisory requirements of these Rules are followed. These Rules require the supervising attorney to be present during all court appearances and require the written permission of the judge presiding over the case. A form order to present to the judge presiding over the case, which grants permission to the student to appear, is available in the Clinic at the Law School.

The Law School requires law students enrolled in clinical courses to fully disclose to all persons with whom they deal that they are clinical law students and not licensed attorneys. No client should be represented by a law student without the prior consent of the client and of the supervising attorney.

Note: The District Attorney’s office has a policy regarding criminal background for law students interested in enrolling in a clinical program with the District Attorney’s office as follows:

  1. Students must not have incurred any criminal charges of any kind (except traffic tickets) in any jurisdiction as an adult.
  2. The District Attorney's Office may, on a case-by-case basis, allow very limited exceptions to the policy stated above for extremely minor offenses or highly unusual circumstances.
  3. The District Attorney reserves the right to exclude students from participation in the clinical law program for any other reasons deemed sufficient by the District Attorney and in the best interest of the Office.

The District Attorney’s Office will conduct a background check for a criminal record before issuing your identification.

Fieldwork

Law Office Externships are with practicing lawyers at government offices or non-profit agencies in the State of New Mexico. The lawyer may be working with a public agency, such as, the District Attorney's Office, the Public Defender's Office, or the Legal Aid Society.

All externships must be approved by the Externship Professor.

Second externships must involve a substantially different educational experience. For example, students are not permitted do two criminal law office externships. A student seeking a second externship must obtain academic advisement with the Externship Professor, and obtain written approval from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Compensation

Students are not permitted to be paid for the hours they work in the Law Office Extern Program. Students receive three credit hours for successfully completing a law office externship. The credit hours earned in the externship count toward the hours required to graduate from Law School, but they do not count toward the Law School clinical course requirement of six credit hours earned in an "in house" clinical course.

Office Hours and Class

During the Fall or Spring semesters, students are required to work twelve (12) hours each week, for fourteen (14) weeks in their extern placement, for a total of 168 hours to earn 3 credits. Students are required to work eight (8) hours each week, for fourteen (14) weeks in their extern placement, for a total of 112 hours to earn 2 credits.

In the Summer semester, students work sixteen (16) hours each week, for ten (10) weeks in their extern placement, for a total of 160 hours to earn 3 credits. Students are required to work a total of 104 hours in their extern placement to earn 2 credits.

A set schedule of office hours must be arranged with a student's assigned lawyer during the first week of the semester. The hours are to be set during the lawyer's usual office working hours. A copy of the schedule is delivered to the Externship Coordinator. A student is not allowed to accumulate hours for the purpose of working fewer weeks. Exposure to the law office extern experience over the course of a full semester is an essential component of the overall educational program.

The Externship Professor will arrange class sessions to be held during the semester. Attendance of the classes is mandatory, and the hours spent in these classes count as part of the weekly office hour’s requirement.

Activity Reports and Confidentiality

Every two weeks, students must submit activity reports to the Externship Coordinator. These reports account for the manner in which a student is spending his or her time in the extern placement. The reports must be sufficiently detailed to present a clear description of what activities the student has been pursuing and what the student is learning. The reports must contain the date of the student activity, a description of the activity, and the total amount of time expended on each day's activities. It is essential to the Law Office Extern Program that the supervising lawyer and the clients feel free to communicate with the law student extern. Confidentiality of these communications must be assured. Students are strictly cautioned against breaching confidences and can be disciplined by the Law School for a breach of a confidential relationship. Discipline may include dropping the student from the extern course with a failing grade. In order to insure that confidences are not breached, the student extern and the student’s supervisor must sign all activity reports submitted to the externship coordinator.

Course Credit and Grading

Law students receive three Law School credit hours for their work in the Law Office Extern Program. The course is graded credit/non-credit; C-, D+, D, D-, or F. Whether credit is to be given is determined by the Externship Professor.

Final Evaluation by Supervising Attorney

At the end of the semester, the supervising lawyer must submit a final evaluation of the student's work to the Externship Professor. The final evaluation is done on a form supplied by the extern program coordinator. The extern program coordinator shortly before the completion of the semester will provide a copy of this form to the supervising attorney.

Conclusion

This description of the Law Office Extern Program is designed to anticipate common questions students and supervisors may have about the extern program. If questions or problems arise during the semester, do not hesitate to call the externship coordinator or the Externship Professor. The School of Law believes that placing the students in a law office environment is a significant and valuable part of the educational program. We welcome suggestions for improvement from anyone interested in the program.