The Lobeck Taylor Community Advocacy Clinic (CAC) trains future lawyers and promotes access to justice in two ways: by representing client organizations in community development and systemic advocacy work and by representing individual clients in cases before state courts and administrative agencies. Students represent client organizations in the fall semester and individual clients in the spring semester.
The Community Advocacy Clinic offers legal services to individuals and also engages in strategic planning, community development, law reform, and systemic advocacy work on behalf of client organizations. The CAC’s work is driven by the goals and needs of its partners in the community. This work challenges students to reflect critically on their role in the justice system.
Lawyers as Problem-Solvers
In the CAC, student attorneys solve problems for their clients inside and outside the courtroom. Student attorneys serve the community by providing representation that increases access to justice for low-income individuals, as well as strategic planning and advocacy on behalf of non-profit organizations and community groups.
Client Organizations: The Fall Semester
In the fall semester, students solve complex legal problems and handle transactional matters for client organizations–problems that cannot be solved through litigation. Clients include nonprofit organizations, community groups, and government agencies. Though the nature of the issues and the work varies, each client faces a problem or challenge that they cannot handle without the help of skilled legal counsel. This is where CAC students come in.
In representing client organizations, CAC students engage in strategic planning, advise clients on regulatory matters, conduct risk assessments, advise clients on licensing and permitting, conduct policy analysis and make recommendations for change, develop systemic advocacy campaigns, draft and advocate for legislation, develop new programs and initiatives, and assist in non-profit entity formation.
The clinic experience challenges students to find creative solutions to complex problems without the benefit of a pre-defined roadmap. Through this work, students develop strengths in legal analysis, drafting, persuasive communication, negotiation, and strategic thinking. Students learn essential elements of legal practice, including client interviewing, advising and counseling, fact investigation, legal research, writing, and public speaking. Students also develop a keen understanding of the professional and ethical issues that arise when representing client organizations. Learn about recent work and past CAC clients
Individual Clients: The Spring Semester
In cases, each student represents a client from the beginning of a case through final adjudication. Cases involve traditional areas of poverty law practice. At this time, student attorneys represent victims of intimate partner violence and stalking in protective order cases in Tulsa County District Court and disabled children in Social Security benefits cases.
Through cases, students develop strengths in legal analysis, argument, and strategic thinking in the context of ongoing litigation. Students learn essential elements of legal practice, including client interviewing and counseling, fact investigation, witness preparation, negotiation, oral advocacy, drafting motions, examining witnesses, and presenting evidence. Students also develop their understanding of professional responsibility as they grapple with ethical issues that arise in legal practice.
The Seminar Component
All student attorneys attend a weekly seminar where they learn substantive law, reflect on the challenges of legal practice, assist one another with case development, and practice essential lawyering skills. The vast majority of seminar time involves simulation exercises, collaborative work, and other interactive learning methods. The seminar covers areas including but not limited to:
- Substantive Law
- Evidentiary Rules and Court Procedure
- Local Judicial and Legal Systems
- Professional Ethics
- Client and Witness Interviewing
- Fact Investigation and Development
- Client Counseling and Communication
- Professional Communication and Collaboration Skills
- Litigation Skills and Trial Advocacy: Case Theory, Trial Planning, Opening and Closing Statements, Direct and Cross Examination, Oral Argument, and Motions Practice
Projects (Fall Semester)
- Must be 2nd or 3rd year student
- Must have completed (or be concurrently enrolled in) Professional Responsibility
Cases (Spring Semester)
- Must be 2nd or 3rd year student
- Must have completed (or be concurrently enrolled in) Professional Responsibility and Evidence
- Must have an Oklahoma Legal Intern License