Tackling the Civil Access to Justice Crisis (FIELDWORK PRACTICUM)
Elizabeth Dewey and
J.D. Practicum 1299
| 4 credit hours
In fieldwork practicum courses, students participate in weekly seminars and conduct related fieldwork at outside organizations. This fieldwork practicum course will focus on the access to justice crisis in this country. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and carry out 10 hours/week of fieldwork with organizations that are engaged in research and development initiatives to address the civil access to justice crisis.
SEMINAR: In the two-credit, graded, seminar portion of the practicum, students will learn about the nature and extent of the access to justice crisis in this country. They will study situations in which the legal profession has failed to meet its professional responsibilities, consider ways to rectify these failures, enhance their competencies in gathering essential information, engage in creative problem-solving, enhance their legislative and rule drafting skills, gain experience in working as part of a team, and address cultural issues and concerns.
FIELDWORK: In the two-credit, mandatory pass/fail, fieldwork portion of the practicum, students will be assigned to work with organizations that are engaged in research and development initiatives to address the civil access to justice crisis. The organizations may include District-based legal services providers—such as the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and Legal Counsel for the Elderly, the D.C. Access to Justice Commission, the Legal Services Corporation, major law firm pro bono programs, and bar associations, among others. Initiatives underway include: revising unauthorized practice of law rules to permit non-lawyers to help address unmet legal needs; expanding pro bono commitments through establishing mandatory pro bono requirements, reporting requirements, and through other means; revising ethics rules to promote limited scope representation; creating civil Gideon requirements at federal and state levels in adversarial proceedings where basic human needs are at stake; providing new forms of assistance to those who represent themselves in litigation or in their handling of other legal matters; reforming court rules and procedures to create a fairer environment for pro se litigants; or identifying ways to de-legalize matters, consistent with due process, that can better be handled in a non-adversarial fashion.
Prerequisites: J.D. students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).
Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum and an externship or a clinic or another practicum course.
LL.M. students may enroll in this course, space permitting. Interested LL.M. students should email Louis Fine (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request admission.
This course is suitable for evening students who can commit to attending seminar and working 10 hours/week (during business hours).
This is a four credit course. Two credits will be awarded for the two-hour weekly seminar and two credits for approximately 10 hours of fieldwork per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks, to be scheduled with the faculty. The two-credit seminar portion will be graded. The two credits of fieldwork are mandatory pass/fail. Students will be allowed to take another course pass/fail in the same semester as this practicum.
Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and fieldwork components and may not take either component separately. After Add/Drop, a student who wishes to withdraw from a practicum course must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student. A student who is granted permission to withdraw will be withdrawn from both the seminar and fieldwork components.
Default attendance rule for all practicum courses (unless the professor indicates otherwise): Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and fieldwork placements. Students in project-based practicum courses are similarly required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, fieldwork, or project work, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible to discuss the absence. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar (out of 13 total seminar sessions), or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work (out of a total of 11 weeks of fieldwork or project work), may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.
||Room / Days / From-To
(CRN #: 27695)
||Dewey, Elizabeth /
||Paper & SR