Community Lawyering Clinic
The most longstanding section of our Clinical Law Programs responds to the legal needs of our community by providing direct legal representation to address a broad range of legal issues including housing, domestic violence, immigration status, Kinship Guardianship, Adult Guardianship, custody, and alleged juvenile delinquency. Students represent clients in court and other venues as necessary. Community needs are also served through projects growing out of both longstanding and new alliances. For example, through our decades long Medical-Legal Alliance, students conduct intakes onsite at UNM health clinics in low-income neighborhoods of Albuquerque, and work closely with physicians, social workers, community planners, community activists, and nonprofits across Albuquerque to identify and better address legal issues that affect their patients and our clients. We also work with PB&J Family Services in support of at-risk families, StreetSafe in support of at-risk street workers, and with other allies, by providing trainings, legal advocacy and outreach. These community allies guide and inform our advocacy efforts.
The section is designed to give students an opportunity to appear in Second Judicial District Court, Metro Court, or, in some semesters, tribal courts. Students will also be required to interview and counsel clients, draft letters, pleadings and motions, and to conduct fact investigation and negotiations on behalf of clients. Class discussion will include a focus on how to step into the role of an attorney. Students will learn to address important aspects of professionalism and professional responsibility while exploring the actual practice of law, from the initial client interview to the closing of a client matter.
Clinic sections collaborate with other sections on projects and cases over the course of the semester.