Potential clinic changes at University of Wisconsin worry students and alumni

The University of Wisconsin Law School is potentially dialing back its clinic program in the interest of increasing student participation. While that may sound counter-intuitive, the school’s reasoning is that the typical year-long clinics it offers are limiting because it’s a “one-size-fits-all” approach. The school’s clinics, which afford students the chance to do pro bono work under a professor’s guidance, typically start in the summer and continue for the next two semesters. The participating students receive a stipend of $2,500 and earn credit toward graduation without having to pay tuition.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported that the proposed change would involve starting some of the clinics later in the year, in the fall and spring semesters, and would guarantee a spot to every student who would like to participate. Normally demand far exceeds supply. This past summer, 165 students applied for 100 available spots.

Law students at University of Wisconsin are worried, saying the shortened clinic length could adversely impact their legal education.

For the school’s part, Dean Dan Tokaji said he sympathizes with the students’ grievances, and that is why they are creating options for multi-semester.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, a public forum will take place on July 28 at noon where students will be able to ask questions and learn more about the school’s proposed changes.

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