The South Royalton Legal Clinic (SRLC) serves Vermont residents* who are unable to afford counsel and who need assistance with issues such as bankruptcy, children’s rights, domestic violence, housing, family-based immigration, family law, landlord/tenant, social security disability, wills and now veterans issues. Working under state and federal student practice rules, more than 40 Vermont Law School student clinicians and work-study students help to represent clients in over 200 court and administrative hearings per year. The clinic has trained many of the leading legal service providers in Vermont.
Under the guidance of experienced staff attorneys, VLS students represent clients in state and federal court, and administrative hearings. They develop court cases from start to finish; this includes interviewing and counseling clients; conducting negotiation, research, case and statutory analysis; discovery, writing briefs and motions; and preparing for and presenting the case at trial. VLS students have also been involved in Vermont Supreme Court and U.S. District Court cases that have set precedents or clarified important points of law.
The clinic experience is often transformative for students. Students develop deep appreciation for and deep commitment to public service as well as gain a sound introduction to legal practices. The clinical program also can be transformational for clients whose rights are protected through the high-quality legal assistance they receive. Second and third year JD students may work in the clinic full-time (13 credits/40 hours per week) or part-time (6 credits/20 hours per week) for one semester. Students who have taken SRLC and wish to do advanced work may return to do so, provided specific permission from the Clinic Director is granted. In the Advanced course, students have the opportunity to further develop their understanding of relevant substantive law and the lawyering skills introduced in their initial clinic course. Students will be expected to take greater responsibility for cases and to mentor novice clinicians. Successful completion of SRLC is required. Students may enroll for 6 or 13 credits.
*Representation is statewide for immigration cases; other representation is limited to Orange, Windsor and, by court appointment only, Washington Counties.