High-Credit Clinical Programs
Brooklyn Law students are able to participate in intensive, semester-long programs. They earn clinical credit while working full-time at approved placements. There are now three such programs, each of which are different in their details, but all of which offer the opportunity to gain experience in an immersive professional setting.
Washington, DC Immersion Semester
Brooklyn Law School students can enroll in the DC Immersion Semester in order to take advantage of a full semester experiential clinical placement in the areas of federal government practice,
legislation, regulation and related fields. The Semester is intended to give the student a comprehensive working experience unique to the nation’s capital. It is expected that students will use this time to build substantive knowledge, develop practical skills, deepen and refine practice area interests, observe institutional policy, procedure and operations, and spend time networking and meeting decision makers and potential employers. It is also expected that this will be a rich and exciting learning experience for students interested in such fields as government regulation, enforcement, and legislative drafting.
Here are a few basic facts about the program:
- The DC Immersion Semester is available to upperclass students in good standing, during either the spring of the student’s second year or the fall of the third year.
- Students are eligible t receive 10 academic (but not classroom) credits, graded on a pass/fail basis, for a semester of full-time work (i.e., 40 or more hours a week) and fulfillment of several academic requirements, described below.
- When planning for this program, students should be mindful of limitations placed by the Court of Appeals on non-classroom credits and by the law school on clinical credits.
- Each student will be assigned a faculty mentor. While in DC, students
- Will engage in a biweekly phone (or Skype) discussion with and submit weekly journals and a final essay to the faculty mentor work and their careers
- Each student will be assigned to an alumni mentor in DC working a related area of practice who will meet with the student a few times during the semester.
New York State Pro Bono Scholars Program
The NY State Pro Bono Scholars Program (PBSP) is a statewide program established by the New York Court of Appeals that allows 3L students to sit for the February New York State Bar Exam. Following the Bar Exam, the Scholars engage in two activities for academic credit.
From late February to late May 2016, the Scholars will complete 500 hours of qualifying pro bono work constituting direct client services or advocacy for those who would not otherwise have access to justice. Students must also complete the requirements of the law school's academic component. During the spring semester, the Scholars will be enrolled at the law school, paying per credit tuition for no more than 12 credits. Upon certification of the Scholars' successful completion of both of these components, the Scholars will be eligible to officially graduate. If a Scholar does not satisfactorily complete all of the work of both components, s/he will not be allowed to graduate officially. (Note: Scholars will be allowed to walk with their graduating class in late May/early June even if they have not completed their 500 hours by the date of the graduation ceremony).
Please see the Pro Bono Scholars Guide for a complete description of the requirements of the program and the kinds of pro bono work that is eligible.
Brooklyn Law School's Pro Bono Scholars will receive 10 clinical non-classroom credits relating to the 500 hours of work and 2 seminar credits corresponding to the academic component. Scholars will be able to obtain appropriate placements either by independently securing a qualifying placement that is approved by the law school (with the assistance of the Public Service Office) or by applying to the Court for placement.
Brooklyn Law School's inaugural class of Pro Bono Scholars are completing placements at Legal Services NYC, Brooklyn Defender Services, Shearman & Sterling LLP, the New Jersey Public Defender, the Brooklyn Volunteer Lawyers Project, Sussman & Watkins, and the New York City Housing Development Corporation, in areas ranging from immigration to indigent defense to community development. Click here for other organizations where Pro Bono Scholars may be working in New York State.
Public Interest/Public Service Fellowship (PipS)
PipS is a two-year fellowship program sponsored by Brooklyn Law School, in cooperation with governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations, which encompasses the third year of law school and first post-graduate year. The mission of PipS is to improve the practical skills of new lawyers, while expanding the ability of nonprofit organizations and government agencies to provide legal services. BLS is the first law school on the East Coast to offer this Fellowship, which will began in Fall 2014.
How Does the Fellowship Work?
During their 3L year, PipS Fellows work full-time in entry-level positions receiving appropriate training and supervision at one of our partner legal offices, as well as attend a classroom component in the evening at BLS. After nine months of work with one of our partners, and after graduation, Fellows have a break to study for and take the bar exam before returning to their Fellowship placement for a full year. During the post-graduate year, Fellows – by that point with one year of experience – return to the office for their second full year of work.
During the 3L year, Fellows pay tuition to BLS. During the post-graduate year the employer contributes an amount to cover the Fellowship and receives salary.
Who are the Partner Organizations?
BLS is partnering with nonprofit organizations and government agencies, each of which will accept between 1-6 Fellows. Currently, the Law School has established partnerships with 12 entities, with others to be announced. As the program gains recognition, the number of organizations will likely increase. View the complete list of partner organizations.
The Fellowship experience will vary depending on the focus of each partner organization. The information materials under the partner organizations tab describe the various opportunities.