Vice Dean Kim Connolly (center) with Brian D. Sarama ’15, recipient of the Brirzon Prize in Clinical Legal Studies, and Joseph C. Smith ’15, recipient of the Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Student Award.

A Message from the Director

Welcome to the University at Buffalo School of Law's Clinical Legal Education Program’s website.  Whether you are a student, prospective student, alumnus, prospective client, community partner, or other interested person, we are glad you are reading this.

Our formal mission says:

In the Clinical Legal Education Program, students engage in effective problem-solving, practical legal thinking, and ethical practice in experiential settings. Students work with skilled faculty to understand lawyers’ unique and critical roles as valued contributors to the legal profession and larger society.

We have a strong history of experiential education at the School of Law. For decades, students have provided excellent work through many kinds of clinics to provide service to clients who would otherwise go without a lawyer, and learn valuable lawyering skills in the process.  Second and third year Student Attorneys work closely with experienced, licensed professors to provide cutting edge legal advice that helps individuals and organizations navigate multiple areas of practice.

  • The idea of clinical work is to provide access to justice for those who would otherwise be without such access, while simultaneously training future lawyers. The learning goals of our program include teaching Student Attorneys to:
  • creatively solve problems by generating options and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each alternative in the context of clients’ legal and non-legal goals and values;
  • identify the institutions and system actors relevant to each Clinic’s practice, understand their respective roles, and know how to access and interact with them;
  • recognize and analyze professional responsibility issues that arise in the context of zealous client representation and project work;
  • identify differences in experience, identity, and values among people and proactively consider how these differences may influence work on a case, matter, or project;
  • behave in all professional interactions with a demeanor that reflects conscientiousness, integrity, and respect for everyone;
  • persevere when solutions are hard to find and when events unfold differently than expected;
  • and learn from experience by deliberatively thinking and talking about individual work, articulating each Student Attorney’s own strengths and challenges, and strategizing future actions.