Students report time and again that clinical experiences give meaning and excitement to their law school program. Through the Samuelson Clinic, students have the opportunity to provide legal assistance on important social justice issues related to law and technology such as copyright, privacy, free speech, electronic voting, patent reform, etc. Students may counsel small or large clients; file amicus briefs; comment on proposed legislation and regulations; produce guidelines on new and emerging technologies; or conduct cutting-edge research, often in conjunction with non-profits, experts, or graduate students from other disciplines on campus. Each project offers different opportunities, and projects change from semester to semester.
Samuelson Clinic students also participate in a seminar that joins the theory and practice of law. In the seminar, students learn and discuss the practice and theory of public interest representation, the ethical issues involved in client representation, and “workshop” their cases with the class. Enrollment in the seminar is limited to participants in the Samuelson Clinic and fulfills Berkeley Law’s professional responsibility course requirement.
Although the Clinic is primarily geared toward law students, graduate students in other disciplines with an interest in law and expertise in technology are often encouraged to apply. After their first semester at the Clinic, former Clinic students can continue to participate in the Clinic as “advanced” student with permission from the Clinical faculty.
Details & Requirements
First time Clinic students must enroll concurrently in both the Clinic practice course (4 credits) and the seminar (2 credits). Most semesters, students must also participate in the All-Clinic Workshop, held on the Friday before the first day of classes.
Students are supervised on their Clinic projects by Clinic faculty and usually work in teams of two to four students per project. Students commit an average of 16-20 hours per week to Clinic projects. This time is spent on team and client meetings, project planning and development, and research and writing. Because Clinic students work on real, client-driven projects, the 16-20 hour time-commitment is only an average and may change depending on client needs and other factors that arise in real-world legal practice. The seminar meets weekly for approximately two hours, and time spent preparing for the seminar is in addition to Clinic work. The seminar is graded Pass/No Pass, and Clinic work is graded on the traditional curved Berkeley Law seminar grading system.
Clinic students work on ongoing and active legal matters and are entrusted with clients’ confidential and privileged information. Accordingly, students taking the Clinic are typically asked not to do outside legal work—such as a legal internships with a judge, a law firm, or a legal organization—while working on Clinic matters. Non-legal work may be permitted on a case-by-case basis. Do reach out and talk to us before you decide that you cannot take the Clinic because of outside work. We are happy to talk it through with you.
Students can apply to the Clinic through the online application available on the Berkeley Law Clinics website. All students must have permission of the instructor to enroll in the Clinic and seminar and will be given course control numbers once they are admitted.
While we ask that applicants show an interest in technology policy issues, no technical knowledge is required to enroll in the Clinic. Prior or concurrent enrollment in one of Boalt’s intellectual property or privacy law classes is recommended but not required.
Please contact Clinic faculty Jennifer Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org or Catherine Crump at email@example.com.