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The Clinical Program provides instruction in professional skills and offers live-client and other practice experiences that are not available in the traditional law school classroom. The clinical program prepares students for the practice of law, provides opportunities to gain practical knowledge, develops professional skills and values, and offers insight into certain types of law practice. The live-client clinics offer opportunities to represent clients, work on real legal cases under supervision, consider and resolve ethical issues, and reflect upon and critique current legal practice. These activities are authorized under Hawai‘i Supreme Court Rule 7. In our live-client clinics, students practice criminal law, immigration law, family law, environmental law, and elder law.
The Clinical Program offers courses that teach and model excellent professional skills and stress a reflective method of looking at lawyering behavior. These courses are taught by full-time faculty as well as by some of Hawai‘i’s finest judges and lawyers—who also critique student performances in delivering oral arguments, handling depositions, and negotiating for their clients in simulated sessions and with real clients. Skills taught in the various clinical courses include: interviewing, counseling, drafting, fact investigation, negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, motion practice, trial practice, appellate practice, and legal writing. Of course, the specific skills taught in any individual course will depend upon its subject matter.
Richardson Law School has developed its Clinical Program to fit the unique needs and interests of our students and our state. Although we are one of the smallest schools in the nation, we have developed an exciting, well-rounded clinical program with a mix of live-client clinics, simulation courses, and externships.
The Law School is strongly committed to clinical legal education and requires that all students complete at least two credits of clinical courses to graduate. See Clinical & Skills Courses in the HOKU Class Datatbase.
The preparation of lawyers who recognize the significance of their public service obligations is an important objective of the William S. Richardson School of Law.
The Pro Bono Program at the William S. Richardson School of Law was one of the first law school pro bono programs in the nation and is also believed to be its first student-initiated mandatory program. In April 1991, student organization Advocates for Public Interest Law presented a formal proposal to the faculty. Recognizing both the long tradition in the legal profession to serve the underprivileged and to ensure legal access for all, as well as a national movement in its infancy of introducing mandatory pro bono service, the student leaders wanted the Law School to foster in all law students a lifetime professional commitment to public legal service by creating a pro bono graduation requirement.
In 1992, the William S. Richardson School of Law adopted a Law Student Public Service graduation requirement. The class of 1995 was the first graduating class obliged to fulfill the requirement. The Law Student Public Service (better known as “Pro Bono”) Program introduces the concept of pro bono service to William S. Richardson School of Law students and is an integral part of the academic program at the Law School. It provides law students with substantial opportunities to participate in pro bono legal services, including law-related public service activities, while enriching their legal education.
Students locate and provide law-related pro bono legal services under the supervision of an attorney, law school faculty or dean, or other supervisor, as approved by the Pro Bono Program Administrator. Pro bono services include law-related public service activities for nonprofits, government agencies, and the courts. Law students are encouraged to provide a portion of their pro bono service to persons of limited means or to organizations that serve such persons. The pro bono work is meant to be law-related in nature, not clerical or administrative. Students are required to maintain copies of all submissions. Students will need to use their “Hawaii.edu” email account to access the required forms stored on this Google Drive.
FIELD PLACEMENT PROGRAM
The Field Placement Program offers significant academic benefits not otherwise available in the classroom setting in the prescribed curriculum to students who have successfully completed prerequisites to assure the quality of the student educational experience in the field placement program.
Eligible students are provided with field experience by being placed in an outside, supportive environment to learn lawyering skills. Site Supervisors create situations specifically designed to maximize learning, develop new skills, and encourage creativity.
The Field Placement Program provides Richardson Law School students with opportunities to observe, experience, understand, and appreciate basic and advanced lawyering skills in supportive, real-world settings. The program assists students in their choice of career paths by providing an opportunity for them to work in the specific environment in which they are interested, enabling them to gain unique and informed knowledge of the practice of law while enhancing their overall professional development. Through work experiences, students will gain an understanding of their ethical responsibilities as future officers of the court. Students in the Field Placement program will have unique access points to critically question and think about their own lawyering skills and abilities in terms of their roles as law students whose future careers demand and depend on lifelong learning.
Downloading the Field Placement Externship Guide for Students and Site Supervisors [PDF, 384KB] provides some quick and easy essentials about our Externship Program’s educational objectives and respective expectations, obligations, and responsibilities for Students and Mentors. Academic Externships are not to be confused with Clerkships (summer or other) and are academic exercises through the University of Hawai‘i School of Law curriculum earning, typically 2 or 4 credit hours, and for certain situations, 6 credit hours.