The Terry West Civil Legal Clinic is supported by the Sarkeys Foundation. It addresses access to justice for marginalized communities in Tulsa, with a particular focus on the intersection of legal needs within these communities. This may include, for example, legal needs that emerge from detention (such as guardianship or eviction proceedings); legal needs that are identified by education or health care providers; or civil legal proceedings that are a byproduct of poverty.
Students engage in individual client work and project work. Individual client work is also used as a basis for students to examine structural access to justice issues. Students may engage with the justice system more broadly and explore different mechanisms of advocacy including court observations, fact-finding and reporting, impact litigation, and legislative advocacy. Students may also create know your rights materials and presentations.
The seminar and clinic work teach lawyering skills and explore the ethical, practical, theoretical, and strategic issues around legal advocacy and the lived experiences of individuals from marginalized communities. Students will gain lawyering skills, including interviewing and counseling clients, fostering a lawyer-client relationship that empowers the client, developing factual and legal arguments, drafting legal briefs, and oral argument and advocacy. They will also explore issues of professional responsibility, the role of the justice system in the lives of marginalized communities, their role as lawyers within this system, and ways to advocate both inside and outside of the courtroom.