Clinical Year


Fall Semester:
CLC 601: Reflective Seminar # 1 (1 credit)
CLC 602: In-Placement Seminar # 1 (1 credit)
CLC 603: Placement # 1 (4 credits)
CLC 604: Reflective Seminar # 2 (1)
CLC 605: In-Placement Seminar # 2 (1)
CLC 606: Placement # 2 (4)

Spring Semester:
CLC 607: Reflective Seminar # 3A (1)
CLC 608: In-Placement Seminar # 3 (1)
CLC 609: Placement # 3A (4)
CLC 610: Reflective Seminar # 3B (2)
CLC 611: Placement # 3B (4)

Professor Stephen Ellmann; Adjunct Professors Jeffrey Blank and Corinne Schiff (Department of Health and Mental Hygiene); Adjunct Professor Stephen Louis (NYC Law Department Division of Legal Counsel); and Adjunct Professors Liliana Vaamonde and Carol Santangelo (The Legal Aid Society)

This course places students in three full-time placements over the course of the academic year. The placements offer students a range of practice experience, in litigation and non-litigation matters, on behalf of governmental and individual clients, and in multiple areas of substantive law. Each placement also includes accompanying classroom study. All credits are graded (unless a student combines the Clinical Year with the Pro Bono Scholars Program, as described in the Note below; in that case, the placement credits in the spring semester, for the Pro Bono Scholars Program placement, are pass-fail).

The fall semester placements, CLC 603 and CLC 606, are in offices of New York City’s government, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Law Department’s Division of Legal Counsel. Each of these placements will last approximately 7 ½ weeks, and each will be accompanied by two one-credit seminars, one led by the adjunct faculty at that placement and the other, focusing on reflection on the experiences students have at the placement, led by Professor Ellmann or a colleague.

In the spring semester, students will move to The Legal Aid Society, where they will work in the representation of low-income clients with pressing legal needs in areas such as unemployment and health benefits. For the first 7 ½ weeks of the spring semester, the placement work (CLC 609) will continue to be accompanied by two one-credit seminars, exactly as in the fall. For the second half of the spring semester, Clinical Year students will continue to work at The Legal Aid Society (CLC 611), while joining a separate seminar for two credits (CLC 610). In this seminar, together with the students in the Pro Bono Scholars Program, they will continue to reflect on their placement experiences, develop their lawyering skills, and examine broader access-to-justice issues.

The aim of the course is to enable students to learn from the experience of complete immersion in the workplace, accompanied by the guidance of NYLS faculty, both in the day-to-day work in the placements and in the accompanying seminars.

NOTE: It is also possible for students to combine the Clinical Year and the Pro Bono Scholars Program. (Students may also decide to take only the Clinical Year, or only the Pro Bono Scholars Program.) Students who choose this option of combining the Clinical Year and the Pro Bono Scholars Program will do the two fall-semester Clinical Year placements, as described above, and earn 12 credits for that semester. Then they will spend January and February of the spring semester studying for, and taking, the February bar exam. Finally, as both their third Clinical Year placement and their Pro Bono Scholars Program placement, they will spend twelve weeks, from the beginning of March through late May (past the normal end of classes), in a full-time pro bono placement, with an accompanying seminar component. This seminar is the same one that Clinical Year students who are not in the Pro Bono Scholars Program will join for the last half of their spring semester — CLC 610, Reflective Seminar # 3B, in the course outline above — but for students in the Pro Bono Scholars Program the seminar will continue past the normal end of classes.

The Pro Bono Scholars Program, taken on its own, is a 13-credit program, with 11 credits, pass-fail, for the placement, and 2 credits, graded, for the classroom component. For students who combine the Clinical Year with the Pro Bono Scholars Program, the total number of credits they will earn is therefore 25 rather than 24 (12 in the first semester, 13 in the second).


Prerequisites: None, but open only to 3L’s. Admission only after interview and in light of students’ ability to undertake the course while meeting their other academic objectives.