LAW 5398: Family Law Clinic - 2211

Family Law Clinic
Class Term:
Fall Term 2020-2021
Catalog Number:
Class Number:
Class Schedule:


4 (2 Contact, 0 Field)
Graduation Requirements:
Experiential Learning
3rd Year Priority when offered in the Fall, 2nd Year Priority when offered in the Spring
Full Year Course:
Standard Courses

Additional Information

Students may register for the clinic as early as their second semester, second year.  It is anticipated that the student will perform clinic related work a minimum of 10 hours per week. Enrollment preference will be given to first semester third year students. NOTE ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS Scheduling Imperatives Family Law Clinic Students: Formal classes are scheduled for first semester students for two consecutive hours each week. Please consult the Law School class schedule to determine the time and place of the two hour clinic class when registering. The Family Law Clinic is fortunate to have an ongoing partnership with the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.  As such, ALL students must be available EVERY Tuesday AND Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Family Court building in downtown Pittsburgh where students will interview clients and prepare appropriate pleadings on behalf of clients who are going to court. In addition all students will have to be available EITHER every Tuesday OR Thursday afternoon from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. to present motions in court on behalf of indigent clients OR, if not presenting, to observe Motions Court.  Clinic students must arrange their class schedules so as to be available to meet these time requirements. Second semester students who will not be attending the weekly two hour classroom session will be required instead to engage in other assigned clinic related work (examples: motion presentation, clinic research projects, student mentoring, Court appointed client representation, etc.) for TWO hours per week which will be scheduled by the student in consultation with the Professor. NOTE: Second semester students wishing more courtroom experience may fulfill this requirement by arranging their schedule so as to permit them to be available BOTH Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Please schedule accordingly when you register so that you comply with the above requirements.

Grading Details

Each student will receive a letter grade based on some or all of the following factors in no particular order of importance: Participation in classes and case rounds meetings, Drafting skills, Client interviewing, student’s ability to work effectively with clients, Advocacy Skills, both written and oral, Research Assignments, General competence, diligence and initiative in handling cases, Professionalism


The Family Law Clinic is a two semester clinic. Students will receive a grade at the conclusion of each semester, however, in the event that a student does not complete the second semester the student shall receive a W for the course, thus nullifying the grade for the prior semester. Students will receive 4 credits per semester. Classroom study generally includes instruction in client interviewing, client counseling, custody, paternity, child support substantive Pennsylvania law and custody and child support litigation procedures in Allegheny County. Custody mediation techniques are also examined. In clinic, under faculty supervision: Students will interview clients with regard to Pennsylvania custody and child support law. Students will, as legal interns certified by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, interview, counsel and assist clients in certain proceedings in the Family Court of Allegheny County dealing with matters of child custody and support. Students will prepare Briefs, Motions, Complaints, Petitions or other court documents depending upon the legal needs of the clients that the student assist. Students will prepare research memos to be presented to all the students at the Clinic Review Meetings. Second semester students will undertake to mentor incoming students in family law court procedures.

Family Law Clinic