Best Clinical Training Programs in US Law Schools

If you’re looking for information on some of the best clinical training programs for law students, then you’re in the right place. This article is part of a series on law school rankings for various practice areas. Here are some of the other posts in that series:

Top International Law Programs
Top Intellectual Property Law Programs
Top Public Interest Law Programs

It’s often been said that law school teaches law students how to become really good law students, not attorneys. The unfortunate truth is that this has been the case since law schools were created.

Law school developed into a right of passage for new attorneys, a sort of coming of age, or initiation. Stuck in their ways, law schools continued to offer the same education, in the same way.

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Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.

In recent years this trend has changed. For the most part, the days are gone when law schools don’t offer some kind of “real world experience” to the students. However, most law schools are still behind the curve when it comes to preparing law students to practice law.

If you know you want to use your law degree to practice law, you will need to make sure you go to a law school that can provide you with the means to be an attorney.

Here are some of the best clinical training programs in US law schools:

1. Georgetown University Law School

Georgetown Law offers 17 different clinical programs. They range from an affordable housing clinic to a D.C. street law program. The clinics cover just about every area of law you could think of, and over 300 students are expected to participate in them in the coming year. You will not find more variety in any other law school in the U.S.

2. American University Washington School of Law

Like we brought up in the article on public interest programs, American University has a very good clinical program. The school offers 12 clinical programs, and the law students get the opportunity to represent clients directly. The students are responsible for case management, transactional work, and legal advocacy.

3. CUNY Law School

CUNY Law School has at least 10 clinics, and they are consistently rated in the top 10 in the U.S. for clinical training. The school requires all third year students to participate in a clinic, which is basically unheard of all over the country. For the most part, clinics are very competitive, and not all students have the chance to participate in one. CUNY is different in that regard. Not only are all students required to participate in the clinical programs, but students have the opportunity to participate in multiple clinics.

4. New York University Law School

NYU Law school is another premier law school with a great clinical program. The school has a whopping 40 clinics, with 15 full-time faculty dedicated solely to working on the clinics. NYU’s clinics are available for a full year or just for a semester. Rest assured, you’ll get lots of hands-on experience here, and you’ll be hard pressed to find such a comprehensive clinical program anywhere else.

5. Washington University Law School in St. Louis

Last in our top five is Washington University in St. Louis. Their clinical program is split into two parts. They have a clinical education program to teach skills relevant to whichever of the 16 clinics a student enrolls in, and then the actual clinics.

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  • Randall

    Randall earned his JD from the University of Denver in 2013. He received his BA in Communications and Social Science from the University of Washington in 2010. Randall took the LSAT twice, and managed to improve his score by 14 points the second time around. He paid the price of learning to score high on the LSAT and hopes to help other potential law students avoid similar pain.