Epstein Program students are required to take only two courses, and satisfy a writing requirement, to fulfill Program requirements after the first year. The second and third years of the regular J.D. program are largely elective, and second- and third-year Program students will select from the regular curriculum courses that relate to their particular public interest orientation. Drawing on the advice of their mentors and other Program faculty, and with the help of an introductory curriculum-planning session in the Spring of the first year, Program students will plan a coordinated program of regular and clinical law courses, independent study, outside courses, and field placements to ensure a balanced educational program that will prepare them to pursue their individual career interests. Program students receive enrollment priority in specific courses, including Professor Gary Blasi’s Public Policy Advocacy clinical course and Professor Scott Cummings’ Community Economic Development clinical course.
To illustrate how a student’s specialized interest would evolve into a coordinated interdisciplinary program, consider the example of a Program student who wants to work in the environmental justice arena. Such a student would take the Program second-year seminar and third-year workshop. She presumably would also take many of the law school courses focused on environmental issues, ranging from Environmental Law and The Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic to Public Natural Resources Law & Policy and Civil Rights and Environmental Justice. She also might take one of several undergraduate or graduate level courses in Environmental Studies taught in the Geography Department of the University, or she might prefer an outside course in Urban Planning, Policy Studies, or Engineering. She also could design one or more independent study projects involving supervised research and writing under the guidance of one of the environmental experts on the law faculty. Finally, she undoubtedly would be exposed to the speakers and interdisciplinary conferences and research projects carried on by the University’s Institute for the Environment.
Whatever his or her area of interest, a student enrolled in the Program should be able, with the assistance of his or her Program faculty adviser, to plan a curriculum that starts with basic courses in the relevant area in the School of Law or elsewhere in the University, and progresses through advanced or clinical courses, seminars and independent research, incorporating whichever extracurricular activities will enhance the student’s education and training.
The Clinical Program
Program students typically take advantage of the School’s pioneering clinical offerings. Indeed, the School of Law offers one of the finest clinical education programs in the nation. The clinical offerings provide extensive and rigorous practical training for student-lawyers interested in litigation or transactional work.
Listing of Clinical Courses
The Externship Program
Many Program students also take advantage of the opportunity to extern full-time for a semester in a public interest organization or a government agency or office. The School of Law has one of the most extensive and diversified externship programs in the country. Under the supervision of experienced public interest and government lawyers and federal judges, and in a semester-long program, students have the opportunity to perform legal work in government agencies and offices, public interest organizations and law firms, and the chambers of federal judges. Thus, for example, Program students have externed for the ACLU of Southern California, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Federal Public Defender, and the Brennan Center for Justice in New York.
Externship Program Information