Students report time and again that clinical experiences give meaning and excitement to their law school program. At the Samuelson Clinic, students provide legal assistance on important social justice issues related to law and technology in one or more of our three areas of focus: protecting civil liberties; promoting balanced intellectual property laws, access to information, and public-minded information policy; and ensuring a fair criminal legal system. The clinic usually represents organizational clients, such as nonprofits, but occasionally has individual clients as well. Student projects may involve litigation; drafting or providing comments on legislation or regulations; writing white papers on cutting-edge technology issues; or advising clients on how emerging technologies impact their practice area. Each project offers different opportunities, and projects change from semester to semester. But the clinic typically has projects in all three of its focus areas every semester and strives to accommodate student preferences in assigning projects to the greatest extent possible.
Clinic students are expected to fully assume the role of the lawyer on their projects. This means students are responsible for planning out and leading the representation, making decisions about their case, and doing the research, writing, and preparation work that the case entails — with supervising faculty available to provide feedback and revisions as needed. Taking on this role helps students build key skills for legal practice, including legal analysis and problem-solving, leadership and ownership, and using the law as a tool to create a more just society.
In addition to project work, Samuelson Clinic students participate in a seminar that joins the theory and practice of technology law. In the seminar, students learn about topics such as lawyering in the public interest, hear from guest speakers practicing in various areas of technology law, and “workshop” their cases with the class. Students also have a chance to lead “deep dive” class sessions, which are group discussions of a technology law topic selected by the students.
Although the clinic is primarily geared toward law students, graduate students in other disciplines with an interest in law and technology are encouraged to apply. After their first semester at the clinic, former clinic students can continue to participate as “advanced” students with permission from the clinic faculty.