Below is a collection of questions commonly asked by clinical students before the start of each semester. Click on each question to view its answer.
This short video tells the story of our founding, our evolution over time in response to changing community needs, and some of our current work.
Clinic students at LSC have their own cases and meaningful responsibility in those cases; you are not glorified interns or mere helpers. Although your supervisors will provide comprehensive training, raise issues for you to consider in your cases, and, at times, offer suggestions, you will have the opportunity and responsibility to propose and make strategic and tactical decisions and then to execute those decisions under our guidance. This means that you will interview and counsel your own clients, conduct fact investigations and discovery, identify legal research issues, draft pleadings and other legal documents, interact with opposing counsel, engage in negotiation, and represent clients in hearings, trials, and appeals. In short, you will do all the things a practicing lawyer does—within the supportive environment of a public interest law firm dedicated to clinical teaching. We are committed to being accessible, providing thoughtful supervision, and mentoring students.
Depending on the size and complexity of a case, students may work in teams or individually. In some instances, students may also have the opportunity to collaborate with students in other LSC clinics. It is not uncommon for a client of LSC to have multiple and intersecting legal problems that cross practice areas. Students are authorized to represent clients in state courts and agencies under Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:03. Students are authorized to appear in federal courts and to represent clients before federal agencies under a parallel provision in the applicable federal rules. Some of the courts and agencies students have appeared before in recent semesters are the Massachusetts District, Superior, and Appeals Courts, the United State Tax Court, the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the federal District Court for Massachusetts, the Second, Third, Fourth, Seventh, and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals, the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services, the Massachusetts Division of Administrative Law Appeals, and the Discharge Review and Correction Boards of the Armed Services.
LSC is located in the City of Boston, at the crossroads of the Jamaica Plain and Roxbury neighborhoods. Our address is 122 Boylston Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130. See our Contact & Directions page for a map.
LSC is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Many staff members work beyond 5 p.m. and some also arrive before 9 a.m. Your HUID card will open the doors at LSC between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. for the duration of the semester. If you plan to arrive prior to 9 a.m. or stay after 5 p.m., please make arrangements through your supervisor to ensure the building will be open to you.
There are several options: Uber or Lyft, ZipCar, subway (known in Boston as “the T”), driving, and biking. LSC is adjacent to the Stony Brook T Station on the Orange Line. Directions for travel by T and travel by car can be found on the LSC website. Please see the FAQs below for more information about student travel, including the travel subsidy we provide to each student and our encouragement of carpooling whenever possible.
LSC provides each student with a semester travel subsidy up to $360. Students can access the subsidy in multiple ways. For those using Uber, Lyft, or ZipCar, we have an LSC account so that students can direct bill their costs. We provide our students with Uber, Lyft, and ZipCar account information at semester’s start. For those who travel using their own car, we provide a reimbursement for miles driven based on the federal mileage reimbursement rate (again, up to the travel subsidy amount each student is allocated). Likewise, we reimburse for the cost of Bluebike rental. For those who plan to take the T, we will provide information at semester’s start about how to access LSC travel passes for the T (known as “Charlie Cards”). Last, please note that it is perfectly fine for students to use multiple forms of transportation during the semester and to use their subsidy across different modes of transportation.
LSC has free parking for students behind our building. For more information, see our Contact and Directions page.
Yes. There are Zipcars in the parking lot next to our building. Some of these spaces are for one-way Zipcars, which may be the most efficient way to use Zipcar between campus and LSC. There are also Zipcar spaces in the parking garage under the Harvard Law School WCC building on campus (known as the 10 Everett Street Garage). To the extent needed, there are also a number of other Zipcar locations near the Law School. Please visit the Zipcar website or app for those locations.
Yes. There is a place to rent/return bikes across the street from the Stony Brook T Station (which is right next to LSC).
The answer depends on the mode of transportation and the time of day. For those traveling by car, when there is light traffic, it can take 20-25 minutes. When driving at rush hour, it can take ~35 minutes. For those who are traveling by T, it can take between 40-60 minutes depending on the time of day and frequency of trains.
Yes, and yes! Carpooling can occur with Uber, Lyft, ZipCars, and personal cars. Carpooling is important because it is better for the environment and helps stretch the value of LSC student travel subsidies. We will share information at semester’s start about our online carpool scheduling and coordination system. The other benefit of carpooling, of course, is that it increases opportunities for students to get to know each other and build community both within and across LSC clinics.
Some students bring their lunch. Students can use the refrigerators in the LSC kitchens on the third floor and/or fourth floor to store perishables. In addition, there are several restaurants in the neighborhood. We provide students with a list of recommended restaurants in the area. There are also vending machines in our building.
The answer depends on the clinical work schedule you choose (see the next two questions below in these FAQs). You should simply show up at LSC (unless instructed otherwise by your Clinic / supervisor) on the first day of clinical work you identified in the work schedule you submit to us prior to the start of the semester.
Your clinical supervisor will provide you with an orientation to LSC’s workspace and law practice protocols. In addition, LSC hosts a lunch for new students in the LSC library on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during the first week of the semester (there will also be a “watch” room on campus, with lunch provided, so that students on campus can view the orientation remotely; students are also welcome to pick up food (at either location) and attend virtually from anywhere they like; and, of course, students also have the option of not grabbing lunch at all and simply viewing the orientation remotely from wherever they happen to be). These sessions, which begin at noon, provide students with an opportunity to meet peers from their own clinic and other LSC-based clinics and to hear presentations from LSC staff about our program, our mission, our values as a site for clinical teaching and public service, and the lawyering and learning principles that will guide us during the semester ahead. You are welcome to attend multiple lunches that first week. Sign-up information for the lunches will be distributed before the start of the semester.
Students can sign up for 3, 4, or 5 clinical credits. Each clinical credit presumes 4 hours per week of work.
|Clinical Credits||Hours Per Week|
You can adjust—up or down—the number of clinical credits for which you are enrolled after the start of the semester. This allows you to get a sense of the work flow of your clinic before making your final decision about the extent of your time commitment to the clinic. Please note there is a deadline during the semester for adjusting your clinical credits. Please consult the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP) website for more information about the deadline for adjusting clinical credits during the semester.
As you can imagine, when you work on real cases for real clients, one cannot guarantee that case assignments will perfectly match up with the hours per week chart set forth above. Cases sometimes require intense work during one week—for example, as you prepare for a hearing or draft an important document—and then far less work during another week. Cases and litigation have a natural, albeit sometimes unpredictable, ebb and flow. Students should view the hours per week guidelines as reflecting an average over the course of the semester rather than a scientific description of each and every week during the semester.
Before reading the answer to this FAQ, we recommend that you first read the response to the FAQ immediately below (about “Where will I do my clinic work?”). This will help put the current FAQ (about “How do I come up with my clinic work schedule?”) into fuller context.
At the outset of the semester, we ask students to create a clinic work schedule of their own choosing—that is, a regular schedule for the days and hours when they will be doing clinical work. This allows us to coordinate client meetings, team meetings, and supervision schedules. Please note that we understand students might need to adjust their schedule during any given week because of other commitments, the rhythms of clinical work, etc. We therefore don’t consider the schedule we ask students to submit at the beginning of the semester to remain the same for each and every week of the entire semester. And it is not uncommon for students to revise their regular schedule a couple of times during the semester as they figure out what works best for them.
In terms of developing your clinic work schedule, please note that some students find it useful to spend longer blocks of time at LSC on fewer days in order to minimize the number of days requiring travel to LSC each week. For other students, this is a less important consideration. You should develop the schedule that works best for you, and you are encouraged to consult with your supervisor to receive any additional guidance that might be helpful to your planning, including on the topic of in-person work and remote work.
For most LSC clinics, the bulk of student work is done at LSC. However, we permit remote work and recognize that it can often be the best use of time. How much remote work is appropriate depends on a number of factors, including case assignments, client needs, and scheduling challenges for the student. Before incorporating remote work hours into your schedule (see above for more on how students develop their clinic schedules), it is typically useful to do work in-person at LSC for the first couple of weeks of the semester in order to acclimate to our law firm setting and connect with staff, students, and, as needed, clients. Because each clinic at LSC has its own docket and case rhythms, during the first week of the semester (if not sooner in some instances) your clinical supervisor will discuss with you the clinic’s remote work policy and how to ensure your plan for the semester balances your needs with case and learning commitments. All students are provided with a dedicated workspace at LSC. You will need to bring your laptop and will have the option of connecting to a monitor, keyboard, and/or mouse. You will be assigned a clinic phone number. Time you spend in court, at an agency, or engaged in community outreach obviously also counts toward your clinical hour requirements.
Clinical seminar sessions for all LSC clinics take place on campus each week. Please consult the Law School course catalog and course Canvas pages for class times and room assignments.
Yes. It is best practice—and provides more flexibility in how your clinical work can be done—to certify your laptop with HLS ITS prior to or at the start of your clinical experience. It is generally referred to as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). More information on the BYOD Certification can be found here. For those who do not (or have not yet) certified their device, you will be given access to a computer program that will allow you to access client and case documents on your laptop in a secure and confidential manner. The necessary computer training and access will be provided the first week of the semester once we complete a conflict of interest check.
Your clinical supervisor will provide you with guidance and LSC protocols for protecting client confidentiality while working at LSC and working remotely.
We ask students to complete a conflict of interest form and submit it prior to the commencement of their clinical work. You can download the conflict of interest form here. Please complete and submit the form no later than the Friday before the first day of the semester. Completed forms should be submitted via e-mail to email@example.com. Please note that depending on the nature and type of prior legal work a student has experienced, a student may need to confer with a prior legal employer to confirm information requested on the form. Therefore, students should allow sufficient time to complete the form prior to semester’s start. If you have any questions at all or believe you will need additional time to complete the form, please contact your clinical instructor. And if you have already been contacted by your clinical supervisor and have already completed and submitted your conflict of interest form for this coming semester, there is no need to submit it a second time.
To assist you in completing the conflict of interest form, we note that the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct provide that a lawyer may reveal confidential information about a client in order to detect and resolve conflicts of interest (so long as the information revealed does not compromise attorney-client privilege or prejudice the client). Rules 1.6(b)(7), 1.7. We also note that Boston Bar Association Ethics Opinion 2004-1 may also be helpful as background for completing the conflict of interest form. A PDF of the Ethics Opinion can be found here.
Most client meetings occur at LSC. We have a suite of client interview rooms on our first floor. We have three rooms (on various floors of the building) in which we have built-in video conferencing technology. In some instances, students may meet with a client away from LSC. That might occur because the student’s clinic is participating in an attorney-of-the-day program at a local courthouse, the client is not able to travel to LSC, the student needs to visit the client’s home to gather or view evidence, or for other reasons. Whether meeting at LSC or at a remote location, keep your safety and the safety of the client in mind in selecting a meeting space. And please consult your supervisor about safety and other issues before meeting with clients offsite.
Many of our clients speak English. Some speak Spanish, Haitian Creole, or other languages. We have two Spanish translators on staff. We also use interpretation services—both in person and via phone—for other languages. You will receive a Clinic Manual, which will address how to access interpretation and translation resources—among many other topics.
Some students decide to come back for a second—and even a third—semester of clinical work at LSC. They do so for any number of reasons. Some do so in order to work with the same client or clients for a longer period of time, to work on a particular case until its completion, to pursue an opportunity to represent a client at a particular case event (e.g., trial, hearing, deposition, negotiation, oral argument, etc.), to undertake more advanced work generally, or to explore new areas of practice within a clinic. Advanced clinical students do not re-take the clinical seminar or otherwise have any classroom obligations. The experience consists solely of lawyering at LSC under the mentorship of your clinical supervisor. Advanced clinicals are a great way for students to deepen their understanding of a practice area, to strengthen their bond with their clients, to expand their lawyering toolkit, and to hone their advocacy skills. If you are potentially interested in an advanced clinical experience or have any questions at all, please confer with your clinical supervisor. In addition, please note that advanced clinicals require a short online application and are subject to submission deadlines–all of which is overseen by the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP). Please visit the OCP website for more information about advanced clinicals, including the relevant submission deadlines for each semester. As with an initial clinical experience at LSC, students can choose, within a range, how many credits they want to take in a continuing clinical, can develop their own clinical work schedule, and can, with a supervisor’s permission, perform a portion of the work remotely.
We are a vibrant public interest and teaching law firm whose work spans six clinics and practice areas. Among the many benefits of working in an LSC clinic, students have told us they most value the following:
- representing real clients in real cases
- the extensive opportunities for client interaction
- assuming responsibility for the most important parts of a case, from initial client intake to drafting legal documents and representing clients at hearings and trials
- making a difference for clients in need
- helping clients to avoid eviction, escape an abusive relationship, defeat an unfair debt collection suit, obtain disability benefits, or retain control over financial and healthcare decision-making
- working side-by-side with other students, both within a clinic and across clinics
- being immersed in a community-based setting
- developing practical lawyering skills by using those skills in real cases and receiving feedback
- learning by doing
- receiving close mentorship from experienced attorneys
- receiving regular and timely feedback
- interacting with partner organizations and professionals in the community, such as advocacy organizations, healthcare providers, and social service agencies
- LSC’s strong track record of helping students pursue public interest law careers
- LSC’s strong track record of helping students develop skills that are transferable to any context, including private law firms, government service, and public interest organizations
- LSC’s lunch-time speaker series, which brings knowledgeable and prominent people to speak on a variety of topics important to LSC’s work