Memphis Law Experiential Learning Program
“Experiences” Most Successful Year Ever
In the past academic year, more students than ever before enrolled in courses offered
through the University of Memphis School of Law’s Experiential Learning Program.
The Experiential Learning Program is centered around two elements: the University
of Memphis Legal Clinic and the University of Memphis Externship Program. The University
of Memphis Legal Clinic is an academic program and professional law office housed
within the walls of the law school. Working under the direct and ongoing supervision
of licensed faculty members, Clinic student attorneys represent clients in a wide
variety of lawsuits and other legal matters, maintaining primary responsibility for
all aspects of the cases to which they are assigned. The University of Memphis Externship
Program offers upper-level law students the opportunity to earn academic credit for
carefully supervised legal work they perform in a variety of practice settings throughout
the Memphis area. To maximize this experiential learning opportunity, externship students
simultaneously participate in a faculty-led seminar designed to introduce the essential
habits of the reflective practitioner and assessment of the skills, relationships,
issues, and mindsets that prevail in the practice setting.
Between the Legal Clinic and the Externship Program, a record number of students earned
academic credit and valuable legal experience in Memphis Law’s Experiential Learning
Program during the 2013-2014 school year:
- From the 2013-14 graduating classes (Winter 2013, Spring 2014, or Summer 2014 graduates),
some 104 students -- or 78% of the overall class -- completed either a Clinic or Externship.
- Of those 104 graduating students who have taken an Experiential Learning course,
some 52 students -- or 39% of the overall class -- completed more than one Clinic or Externship.
- During the Fall 2013 semester, in which only third-year law students were eligible
to participate, 26 students enrolled in one of three Clinic courses, and another 50
students enrolled in the Externship Program.
- During the Spring 2014 semester, where both second and third-year students were
eligible to participate, 27 students enrolled in one of four Clinic courses, and another
61 students enrolled in the Externship Program.
- Memphis Law students are on pace to complete 139 Externship field placements during
the 2013-14 academic year (including the 27 students currently enrolled in the Summer
2014 Externship Course).
“Students emerge from experiential learning courses that much more ready to practice
law and to meet the high expectations of the future clients and employers on whose
behalf they will work following graduation,” said Daniel Schaffzin, Assistant Professor
of Law and Director of Experiential Learning. “As evidenced by the remarkable year
we have had and the tremendous growth of our Experiential Learning curriculum over
the last several years, I think that both our students and devoted community legal
partners are seeing the advantages of offering a robust set of Legal Clinic and Externship
Daniel Schaffzin, the Director of Experiential Learning and an Assistant Professor
of Law, oversees Memphis Law’s Legal Clinic and Externship Programs. Within the Experiential
Learning Program, the various Legal Clinics housed at the University of Memphis Law
School are taught and directed by Donna Harkness (Elder Law Clinic), Daniel Schaffzin
(Civil Litigation Clinic and Housing Adjudication Clinic), Steve Shields (Mediation
Clinic), and Chris Zawisza (Child and Family Litigation Clinic).