Clinics are teaching law offices where students work as lead attorneys on real cases under the close supervision of seasoned faculty members.
In Notre Dame Law School's clinics, second- and third-year students receive academic credit while providing free legal services to individuals, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
These experiences — which include litigation, transactional work, and mediation — complement the analytical training of the classroom by enabling law students to develop practical skills and explore potential career paths.
The clinics also provide an invaluable service to the South Bend region by representing local residents who cannot afford legal counsel.
Notre Dame Law School operates five clinics.
- Applied Mediation: Provides mediation services to individuals litigating civil matters such as child custody, parenting time, landlord-tenant disputes, and contract disputes.
- Community Development: Offers non-litigation services to nonprofit organizations and small businesses.
- Economic Justice: Provides legal services to low-income clients in consumer law matters.
- Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship: Offers counsel to businesses and entrepreneurs on IP-related issues.
- Tax: Represents low-income clients in controversies with the Internal Revenue Service.
The IP and Entrepreneurship Clinic is housed in Biolchini Hall of Law on Notre Dame's campus. The other four clinics operate from offices at the Notre Dame Clinical Law Center at 725 Howard Street, just south of campus in South Bend.
Notre Dame Law School was a pioneer in clinical legal education when it established a legal aid clinic in 1951, and the Law School continues to be a model of current, high-quality pedagogy.
The Notre Dame Clinical Law Center's mission is to provide effective learning opportunities for law students in the basic skills of law practice through (1) client representation, (2) classroom instruction, and (3) individual mentoring. In fulfilling this mission, the Clinical Law Center will strive to serve unmet legal needs of the poor and underrepresented in keeping with the Judeo-Christian tradition of working for social justice.
In keeping with the Clinical Law Center's mission, and with the aspirations and ideals of Notre Dame Law School, the clinical faculty will endeavor:
- To inculcate high standards of ethical practice by reflecting with students on their legal obligations as attorneys and the moral dimensions of law practice;
- To encourage students to become leaders in improving the administration of justice and to incorporate public service as an integral component of their legal careers;
- To contribute to the development of the law and the improvement of legal education through scholarly and other professional activities.
Information for potential clients
The Law School's clinics are able to accept only a small number of new cases each semester. The clinics begin the intake process in the middle of August for the fall semester and early January for the spring semester.
Please call the Clinical Law Center's informational line at 574-631-6704 for updated information on which clinics are currently accepting new cases. Also, please consult the individual clinic pages (linked on the list above) to see each clinic's intake requirements.
The Notre Dame Clinical Law Center does not handle any types of cases not listed above or on the clinics' individual webpages, nor can it provide general legal assistance or advice to individuals who are not represented by the Clinical Law Center.