As members of Morningside Heights Legal Services, Inc., a public interest law firm housed at Columbia Law School, clinic students represent real clients under the close supervision of full-time faculty, full time staff attorneys and fellows. Students become counselors, mediators, litigators, and educators as they learn to apply legal knowledge and other skills to their clients’ diverse concerns.
Clinics focus on a range of public interest legal issues, from the struggles adolescents face as they age out of foster care to the promotion of human rights, the pursuit of economic justice and environmental protection. The work includes impact litigation, direct-services representation, collaborative investigations, policy initiatives, and grassroots advocacy.
Students learn the practical art of lawyering by assuming increasing levels of responsibility for cases and matters involving individuals, communities, and organizations that otherwise might be unable to secure assistance. Additionally, in weekly seminars and simulations, faculty provide personalized feed- back and reinforce skills, such as interviewing and counseling clients, mediating among parties with disparate interests, and drafting legal documents. The recently renovated Law School office provides light-filled, professional space for client consultation and collaboration.
For basic information about specific clinics, please refer to the Clinic and Externship Information sheet.