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Seattle University School of Law

Ronald A Peterson Clinic

Associate Professor Bryan Adamson, standing, and Predatory Lending Clinic students Iris Tilley and Greg Holder, both 2008, confer with a client in a predatory lending case in King County Superior Court.

Externship Program and Clinic works together

Collaboration between the Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic and the law school’s Externship Program is an innovative national model that strengthens each of these thriving programs. Clinics provide experience with clients and cases, and externships complement that by placing students in an off-campus legal setting.

“We coordinate and collaborate to give our students the best credited experiential learning opportunities possible,” said Professor Lisa Brodoff, the clinic director.  “We work together to help advise students as to the best times to take a clinical course or to complete an externship in order to meet their educational and career goals.”

Host to the 2010 Northwest Clinic Conference in October, the Clinic offers a variety of courses taught by career faculty and experts in their field including Administrative Law Clinic, Arts Legal Clinic, Bankruptcy Clinic, Community Development and Entrepreneurship Clinic, Domestic Violence Clinic, Immigration Law Clinic, International Human Rights Clinic, Mediation Clinic, Mental Health Court Clinic, Not-for-Profit Organization Clinic, Predatory Lending Clinic, Trusts and Estates/Indian Trusts and Estates Clinic and Youth Advocacy Clinic.

Externs Carol Koppelman, 2009, right Susan Marx, 2010, center with externship supervisor Judge Zulema Hinojos-Fall at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Externship Program offers about 200 placements a year. The law school’s partnerships with the many site supervisors prepare students for practice, engage their developing sense of professionalism and provide direct encounters with the challenge of achieving justice. Opportunities include placements at a variety of courts, government agencies and non-governmental legal organizations and legal service agencies. The law school is continually adding sites in and out of the state, including recent externships with the Court of Appeals in California, with agencies in Alaska and international agencies including the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the World Trade Organization, and the International Criminal Court.

Gillian DuttonIn addition to a supervised externship, each extern completes a semester-long seminar taught by Gillian Dutton, assistant professor of lawyering skills and director of the Externship Program. She meets individually with each extern and site supervisor throughout the semester.

“We are committed to ensuring students receive a truly educational experience,” she said.

Because of the strong ties between the two programs, the Clinic has become one of the few in the country to train students to better work with clients with limited English skills and to work with interpreters. It is an extension of Dutton’s broad experience with Limited English Proficient clients and the law school’s commitment to social justice. Dutton and Kristi Cruz, a graduate of Seattle University School of Law also committed to language access, are creating national standards as part of an American Bar Association Project.

“That is just one more example of the benefit of close collaboration between these two very important programs,” Dutton said.

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