Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic
The Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic (“CLAC”) is one of the nation’s oldest continuously-operating law school clinical programs. The programs offered through CLAC provide third-year law students the opportunity to provide direct representation to low-income clients in need of legal assistance – in other words, to practice law. The “student attorneys” are specially licensed by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court and the United States District Court to practice under the supervision of a fully licensed faculty member. While Clinic faculty provides instruction and supervision, the students are, in every respect, the lawyers for the Clinic’s clients. Students interview and counsel clients, develop case theory, conduct discovery, negotiate outcomes with opposing parties and counsel, prepare cases for court, and handle hearings, trials, and appeals.
The Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic is housed in a small building next to the Law School, and is staffed by a full-time Office Manager and an Administrative Assistant. The Clinic is comparable in facilities to many small and medium-sized law firms, with networked computers and other office equipment, a small library, student offices, and meeting rooms.
At this time, the Law School offers four separate clinic courses through CLAC each semester: General Practice Clinic, Juvenile Justice Clinic, Prisoner Assistance Clinic, and Refugee and Human Rights Clinic. Each year, the Clinic selects five students for the Summer Internship Program, which provides a summer-long intensive experience practicing law. In addition, all students enrolled in Clinic courses and who participate in the Summer Intern Program assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking through the Clinic’s Domestic Violence Program.