Opportunities for Involvement
Extensive trial experience comes from both trial and appellate level litigation competitions throughout the country. LSU Law students have done well in moot courts in Tax, Environmental Law, International Law, the F. Lee Bailey, Jessup, National and Frederick Douglas competitions; the American Trial Lawyers and Louisiana State Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division Mock Trial Competitions. Internally, they participate in Tullis Moot Court Competition and the Flory Trial Club. In addition, dozens of the nation’s top trial attorneys come to Baton Rouge every August to share their techniques with 200 3Ls, in a three-day trial advocacy program that few U.S. law schools can match.
LSU Law Center’s Moot Court program was ranked No. 12 nationally according to the University of Houston Law Center’s Blakely Advocacy Institute, which ranked schools based on results from more than 60 different moot court competitions during the 2008-09 school year.
The Public Interest Law Society (PILS) is a student organization that actively engages law students in the community by planning pro bono and community service projects and events. Another function of PILS is to create pro bono volunteer opportunities with legal service providers to the indigent located throughout Louisiana.
PILS introduced a new program in 2008: The 1,000 Hours Challenge. PILS challenges students to do 10 hours of pro bono or community service with the goal of investing at least 1,000 hours of service in the community. In 2009, LSU Law students performed over 2,000 hours of service for the 1,000 Hours Challenge.
Leslie Ziober, 2009 graduate of the Law Center, was awarded the Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) 2009 Law Student Pro Bono Award in recognition of her work with PILS and other pro bono activities.
Also, PILS, through support from the Law Center, grants public interest fellowships to students who chose to spend their summers interning or clerking with public interest employers. This summer, 13 public interest fellowships were granted to LSU Law students. PILS is supported in their efforts by a public interest career counselor and a faculty advisor.
LSU Law students annually assist foreign students, foreign teachers, and researchers at the university, as well as in the Baton Rouge community, in preparing federal and state income tax returns as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The Law Center’s 2009 VITA Program was a success with 39 students participating in the program and preparing federal and state income tax returns for 220 foreign students, teachers, and scholars. Fourteen students served as Supervising Coordinators.
Clinics & Externships
Law students can experience the practice of law for academic credit by enrolling in the various clinics and externships offered at the Law Center.
Students enrolled in a clinic assist real clients or mediate actual disputes under close faculty supervision. This provides the opportunity for students to gain actual experience and be better prepared to enter the practice of law after graduation. Regardless of the types of clinics a student may choose, all of the lawyering skills learned – client interviewing and counseling, case investigation, written and oral advocacy, negotiation, etc. – will transfer into any area of practice students may enter as they start their legal careers. Current clinics offered include the Immigration Law, Parole and Reentry, Family Mediation, Civil Mediation, Juvenile Law, Prosecution, and Advocacy for Victims of Sexual Assault.
Students enrolled in an externship work under the supervision of a lawyer in a governmental agency or legal service provider in the community, or they clerk under the supervision of a judge in a trial or appellate court. This provides the opportunity for students to gain real work experience by being placed in a legal office or judge’s chambers outside of the Law Center. Current externships include the Judicial, Governmental, and Public Interest Externships. Students in the Judicial Externship can be placed with state or federal judges ranging from local courts in the 19th Judicial District in Baton Rouge to the Louisiana Supreme Court or the United States Appellate Court for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans. Students in the Governmental Externship can be placed with municipal, state, or federal agencies, and students in the Public Interest Externship can be placed with community based legal service providers. There is also a Summer Externship opportunity which offers students the option of spending their summer externing locally or with judges, governmental agencies, or legal service providers throughout the country.
More information can be found at Experiential Courses: Clinics, Externships, & Skills
The Louisiana Law Review offers students the chance to manage a journal and publish their work.
Michelle Renee’ Shamblin, a 2009 graduate and member of the Law Review, was awarded the 2009 Scribes Law-Review Award for her article, Silencing Chicken Little: Options for School Districts after “Parents Involved.” She is the first student in the history of the Law Center to receive the national award.
The Journal of Energy Law and Resources is a student edited academic journal focusing broadly on energy and its relationship to other areas of law.