The University of Arkansas Law School Legal Clinic was founded by then-professor Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1975 to give students hands-on skills training by representing real clients in real life legal situation, and to provide a much needed service to the Northwest Arkansas community. From juvenile defense to criminal trial work, bankruptcy to business organizations, post-conviction evidentiary review to immigration issues, students in the clinic are working to provide needed legal services to our local community and to the state of Arkansas.
The Legal Clinic includes the American Indian Law Clinic, Civil Litigation and Advocacy Clinic, Criminal Practice Clinic, Federal Practice Clinic, Human Trafficking Clinic, Immigration Clinic and Transactional Clinic.
Pro Bono Opportunities
Law Students will have the opportunity to volunteer their time, and gain valuable experience, by providing Pro Bono work under the proper supervision of an attorney. The program is characterized by a referral system, which is designed to match students with law-related pro bono opportunities in the community.
Each year, within the United States, four out of five low-income people in need of legal assistance are denied service. Many eligible clients do not receive help because of a language barrier, disability, or lack of literacy. Many others are turned away because of overwhelming caseloads at legal services offices. In the United States, there is an average of one legal aid attorney for every 6,861 low-income people. With help from attorneys and student attorneys, we can help decrease this number.
Rule 6.1 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct recognizes an attorney’s obligation to provide legal service to the community. Ideally, every attorney should perform a minimum of 50 pro bono public hours annually. This service is not mandatory but is an aspiration. By giving back to the community in which they live and work, law students and lawyers contribute to the advancement of their community, give assistance to the poor, and develop true professionalism in the practice of law.
Board of Advocates
The School of Law hosts three internal competitions that lead to the selection of moot court, trial, and client advocacy competition teams that travel to regional and national competitions. Both second- and third-year students are eligible to apply for positions on traveling competition teams, in moot court, trial, and client advocacy. Its activities are governed by a detailed set of bylaws.
1L students are eligible to compete in an internal client advocacy competition in the spring of their first year and to participate as witnesses, timekeepers, and clients in all law-school hosted competitions. The final rounds of each of these competitions features distinguished jurists and alumni — the public is invited to attend these final rounds.
During the fall, the Board of Advocates and the School of Law sponsor the William H. Sutton Barrister’s Union Trial Competition (open to 2L and 3L students). From this competition, top competitors are invited to try out for two inter-school teams: one sponsored by the American Board of Trial Advocates and the Texas Young Lawyers Association, and sponsored by the AAJ (formerly STAC).
During the winter and spring, upper level students are invited to participate in the Ben J. Altheimer Spring Moot Court competition, in which competitors form two-person teams, write a brief, and argue both sides of a case before panels of moot court judges. From this competition, outstanding advocates are selected to represent the School of Law in the National Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the Bar of the City of New York (regional rounds in November; final rounds in January in New York City) and the American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Competition (regional rounds in February and final rounds in April, in Chicago).
Late in the spring semester, all students (first year, second year, third year) are invited to participate in the law school's client advocacy competitions. Outstanding advocates from this competition may be selected to compete in one of the ABA's client advocacy competitions: either in negotiations or in client counseling.
Periodically, the Board of Advocates also supports the fielding of ad hoc competition teams, through an application process that begins with the faculty advisor to the Board of Advocates. Applications are reviewed by the executive committee of the Board, and by the law school administration. Review of such proposals focuses on the applicant's participation in the internal Client Advocacy, Trial, and Moot Court competitions, as well as other specialized knowledge and/or preparation required by the proposed competition.