UConn School of Law adopts ‘practice-based learning’ requirement


The University of Connecticut School of Law adopted a “practice-based learning” requirement which will ensure that all students have at least one intensive, supervised, live-lawyering experience before graduating from law school.

The new requirement takes effect with next year’s entering class.

“The Law School has long been a leader in experiential legal education,” said Interim Dean Willajeanne McLean. “We were an early pioneer in clinical education, and students today can choose from a very broad and diverse range of clinics and externships. These programs offer an essential supplement to classroom-based learning. By adopting this requirement, we are signaling our continuing commitment to preparing our students to practice law, and to do so competently and ethically.”

Students will be able to satisfy the new requirement in several different ways. First, they can enroll in any of the Law School’s 15 faculty-supervised clinical programs.These include: an Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic that is part of a state economic development initiative; an Asylum and Human Rights Clinic that helps refugees from torture and persecution gain political asylum; and a Mediation Clinic that helps resolve disputes between landlords and tenants as well as other matters.

Clinical programs also include externship clinics in which students are placed with non-profit public interest organizations, state agencies, judges, and legislators.

A second way in which students will be able to satisfy the new requirement is through an individual externship. In order to qualify, such an externship must be certified as providing high-quality legal supervision, and the student must work at least 14 hours per week in the placement and participate in an accompanying seminar.

A third way to satisfy the requirement will be to enroll in a course that includes a substantial component in which students participate in teams or as a group in one or more live lawyering projects.