FAQs for Clinic Students

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 what it is like to work with clients at LSC.

You can learn more about LSC’s unique community role by visiting this page about our 40th anniversary celebration. There you will find video recordings and other materials that speak to our dual mission of teaching and service.

LSC Students in Their Own Words

 “From the moment I started at LSC, I sensed the clinic’s ‘do what it takes’ attitude toward client service, reflecting lawyers’ two-part role as both legal counselors and general advisors. I therefore especially appreciated this chance for guided practice in the whole spectrum of services that attorneys must know how to offer, an opportunity uniquely available at LSC”

“By serving an actual client with pressing needs, I learned more in a few weeks with LSC than I did in a full semester in many of my black letter law courses. On a daily basis, I addressed real legal considerations, including case strategy and negotiation techniques with opposing counsel.”

Clinic students at LSC have their own cases. Students 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. Depending on the size and complexity of each case, students may work individually on behalf of a client or as part of a student team. While each student’s experience is obviously different based on their individual caseload, and each LSC clinic maintains its own distinct docket of case types, enrolling in an LSC clinic means you will have opportunities to do some combination of the following:

  • interviewing and counseling your own clients
  • conducting fact investigations and discovery
  • conducting legal research
  • drafting pleadings, briefs, and other legal documents;
  • interacting with expert witnesses
  • interacting with opposing counsel
  • engaging in negotiation
  • representing clients in hearings, trials, and appeals
  • identifying and resolving ethical dilemmas
  • collaborating with community organizations and conducting community outreach and education.

You will work in a holistic lawyering environment, where students regularly connect with their peers in other LSC clinics to provide wrap-around legal advocacy for clients who have multiple and intersecting legal problems.

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.

LSC Students in Their Own Words

“I took three clinics during my time at HLS. The [LSC] clinic was most rewarding…and its guiding philosophy is student attorneys ‘owning’ cases. At prior clinics, I was often responsible for a workstream or research project, but never an entire case, let alone the responsibility of representing four clients across the country.”

“I am proud that I could transform [the client’s] life for the better and am still amazed at the life-transforming responsibility that LSC places in its student attorneys.”

“I’ve been able to author motions, conduct pre-hearing conferences with opposing counsel, and even conduct oral arguments….”

“Ultimately when I look back at my three years of HLS, I feel my work with [my client] and other LSC clients has had the biggest impact on others. However, the opposite is also true. Ultimately, the practical lawyering considerations I contended with at LSC and the legal advocacy skills I developed as a result will stick with me long after any memorized classroom outlines or mid-semester papers.”

Watch Harvard Law School Clinic in a Minute videos to get a further window into student experiences in LSC clinics.  And see Harvard Law School’s In-House Clinics Skills Matrix to learn more about skills you can develop in specific LSC clinics.

A central tenet of LSC’s pedagogical philosophy is that students regularly interact with clients. By developing rapport with your client and earning their trust, you will experience practicing law in three dimensions—and, in doing so, you will help assure that our legal representation has the greatest chance for success. Many students comment on how rewarding it is to get to know their clients, how much they learn from interviewing and counseling their clients, and how much they discover about themselves from their work with clients.

LSC Students in Their Own Words

“[My supervisor] modeled what it is like to be a client-centered attorney and I saw how powerful that was, for the client and for the case’s outcome. This experience will inform every future interaction I have with a client.”

“Before this, I hadn’t appreciated that being a lawyer also requires coaching people through these experiences. When you’re in law school, reading cases every day, sometimes it gets lost how important these issues can be for someone…It was really cool to form relationships with people and support them through their case.”

“Two legal skills stand out from the four months I spent in the Clinic: first, I was pushed to think strategically about litigation in a new way; second, my client counseling skills were put to the test.”

We are committed to being accessible, providing thoughtful supervision, and mentoring students. As clinic supervisors, we really get to know our students and their individual learning goals, guiding students during scheduled case meetings and frequent ad hoc and informal opportunities for case discussions. We extensively moot students to prepare them for signature events in their cases and help students through the steps of preparing a major filing. We take special care to provide regular and detailed feedback to students about their work in the clinic—everything from their legal writing to their client interviewing and counseling, and from their on-their-feet lawyering in a courtroom to their strategic judgments during a negotiation.  

LSC Students in Their Own Words

“…while students own the cases, they have access to selfless, seasoned supervisors. My primary supervisor…was available late at night, early in the morning, and on the weekends. He provided granular edits on all my work, both for [my client’s] benefit and my own benefit.”

“On the one hand, I have complete ownership of the cases…which makes me feel very invested in the cases that I am on. On the other hand, we are not left alone; we are always given very granular, fine-tuned feedback on everything we do… [There is a] balance between giving ownership and giving feedback so we can learn. These go hand and hand. That is why I love it so much here.”

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, Municipal, Superior, and Appeals Courts
  • the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance
  • the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services
  • the U.S. Tax Court
  • the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, the Second, Third, Fourth, Seventh, and Eleventh Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • the Social Security Administration
  • the Internal Revenue Service
  • the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • the Massachusetts Executive Office of Veterans’ Services
  • the Massachusetts Division of Administrative Law Appeals
  • the Discharge Review Boards and Records Correction Boards of the Armed Services.

While LSC is located in the community, LSC clinics are in-house HLS clinics taught by full-time clinical supervisors. Our team is made up of attorneys who are experts in, and are deeply devoted to, teaching and mentorship. 

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.

Students have several options, which we catalog here. (Please also take note of the information further below about the travel subsidy we provide to students.)

  • LSC Shuttle Van: LSC operates a shuttle van between HLS campus and LSC. The van runs twice a day. It leaves from the HLS campus at 8:45am (arriving at LSC at ~9:15am), and it departs from LSC at 5:00pm (arriving at the HLS campus at ~5:40pm). During the first week of the semester, the van will operate each weekday. Thereafter, the van will operate 3-4 days per week, which days will correspond to the days of the week with the most students scheduled for clinical hours. We will announce the van schedule that will commence the second week of the semester no later than the preceding Friday. You do not need to register in advance to ride the shuttle  van (although we may do some informal polling to get the best sense of potential ridership on certain days of the week). To ride the shuttle, you need only show up at the appointed location and appointed time. The departure location from campus is on Everett Street in front of the HLS clinical wing entrance (6 Everett Street, Cambridge, MA 02138). The departure location from LSC is directly in front of our building at 122 Boylston Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130. When we announce which days of the week the LSC shuttle van will run, we will also let students know what markings the shuttle will have so that it can be easily identified. 
  • Subway (in Boston, known as the “T”): LSC is adjacent to the Stony Brook T Station on the Orange Line. Students can travel from Cambridge to LSC by taking the Red Line to the Park Street Station in downtown Boston and then transferring (via the Downtown Crossing Station) to the Orange Line in the direction of Forest Hills.
  • Uber/Lyft: LSC has its own Uber and Lyft accounts. At the start of the semester, we provide students with our account information so that students can direct bill for Uber and Lyft travel between campus and LSC. Please also see the important note below about carpooling.*
  • Driving: LSC has free parking for students behind our building. For driving directions, visit the LSC website. LSC’s student travel subsidy can be used to cover a certain portion of driving costs—see further below for more information about the travel subsidy and driving between Cambridge and LSC. Please also see the important note below about carpooling.*
  • ZipCar: LSC also has a ZipCar account. 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) and at other Zipcar locations near HLS. At the start of the semester, we provide students with our ZipCar account information so that students can direct bill for ZipCar travel between campus and LSC. Please also see the important note below about carpooling.*  
  • Bicycling: For those want to use Boston’s bikeshare program, there is a Bluebike kiosk across the street from LSC. For those want to ride their own bike, we have a bike rack in front of our building. Bikes can also be kept inside by parking a bike under the stairwell just to the right of our reception desk. LSC has a changing room that can be used by cyclists and others. Please stop by our reception desk for information about how to access the changing room.

* LSC encourages carpooling with Uber, Lyft, ZipCars, and personal cars. Carpooling is important because it is better for the environment, but it also helps stretch LSC student travel subsidies (see the FAQ below on student travel subsidies) and provides further opportunities for students to get to know each other and build community. We will share information at semester’s start about our online carpool scheduling and coordination system.

LSC provides each student with a semester travel subsidy of up to $600.  Students can access the subsidy in multiple ways:

  • LSC Shuttle Van Riders: LSC pays directly for the shuttle van.
  • Subway Riders (aka “T” riders): We will provide information at semester’s start about how to access LSC travel passes for the T (known as “Charlie Cards”).
  • Uber, Lyft, or ZipCar Users: We have an LSC account so that students can direct bill their costs; we provide account information at semester’s start. 
  • Students Using Their Own Cars: We provide a reimbursement for miles driven based on the federal mileage reimbursement rate.
  • Bicycle Riders: For those students who use Bluebikes, we reimburse for the cost of the rental. For those students who ride their own bike to and from LSC on each of their clinical workdays through the semester, we permit the use of $20 per month from their travel subsidy to defray the cost of personal bicycle upkeep.   

Last, please note that it is perfectly fine for students to use multiple forms of transportation and to use their subsidy across different modes of transportation.

The answer depends on the mode of transportation and the time of day. For those traveling by car, when traffic is light, it can take ~25 minutes. When driving at rush hour, it can take ~45 minutes. For those traveling by T, it can take between 40 and 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 and others grab lunch from local restaurants. Students can use the refrigerators in the LSC kitchens on the third and fourth floors to store their perishables. We provide students with a list of recommended restaurants in the area. In addition, once a week, LSC hosts a lunch for students and staff. Please read the next FAQ for more information about these lunches.

Once a week, LSC hosts a community lunch for students and staff. LSC provides the food and the lunch space (our first-floor library/community room). These lunches are popular with students and staff alike, as they provide a relaxed atmosphere in which we continue to build community together. The schedule of weekly lunches for a semester will be announced within the first week of when classes start. 

Yes. It is located on the second floor of our building (Room 205). For the access code to the lactation room, please ask a staff member at the reception desk on the first floor.

When you will have your first day of clinical work depends on the clinical work schedule you choose (see the next two questions 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 identify 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 three days 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 orientation lunches, which run from 12:30-1:20pm, provide students with an opportunity to meet LSC students and staff, and learn more about our program, mission, and values, and the lawyering and learning principles that will guide us during your time at LSC. 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 CreditsHours 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 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), we recommend working 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.

Most client meetings occur in-person at LSC. We also have four rooms (on various floors of the building) with 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. 

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. All students are required to certify their laptop with HLS ITS prior to or at the start of their clinical experience; certifying your laptop provides more flexibility in how and where your clinical work can be done. This is generally referred to as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). More information on 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 herePlease 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 lsc@law.harvard.edu. 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.

Advanced clinical students—who are returning for a second, third, or fourth semester to their LSC clinic—need to complete the conflict form anew at the beginning of each semester.

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.

Many of our clients speak English. Some speak Spanish, Haitian Creole, or other languages. We have two Spanish interpreters 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 or fourth—semester of clinical work at LSC. They do so for any number of reasons: to work with the same client or clients for a longer period of time, work on a particular case until its completion, pursue an opportunity to represent a client at a particular case event (e.g., trial, hearing, deposition, negotiation, oral argument, etc.), undertake more advanced work generally, or explore new areas of practice within a clinic. Advanced clinicals are an excellent way for students to deepen their understanding of a practice area, expand their lawyering toolkit, and hone their advocacy skills.

For an excellent window into the advanced clinical student experience, we recommend you take a look at this article.

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.

If you are potentially interested in an advanced clinical experience or have any questions about advanced clinicals, please confer with your supervisor. In addition, please note that advanced clinicals only require an easy-to-complete online application that doesn’t need to be submitted until relatively close to the semester’s start. The enrollment process for advanced clinicals is coordinated by the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP). Please visit the OCP website for more information about registering for an advanced clinical, 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, develop their own clinical work schedule, and, with a supervisor’s permission, perform a portion of the work remotely. In addition, as with new clinical students, advanced clinical students can adjust their credits after semester’s start.

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 value:

  • representing real clients in real cases
  • 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
  • developing skills that are transferable to any context, including private law firms, government service, and public interest organizations
  • receiving many opportunities for client interaction
  • making a difference for clients in need
  • 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
  • helping clients 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
  • interacting with partner organizations and professionals in the community, such as advocacy organizations, healthcare providers, and social service agencies
  • attending the weekly lunches LSC provides and the accompanying gathering that brings together students and staff for informal conversation

LSC Students in Their Own Words 

“My days working on a case at LSC were the most formative and rewarding experiences at Harvard Law School.”

“This [LSC] clinic has been the highlight of my law school experience. I am personally invested in the cases. They mean a lot to me and I care about the clients. I would like to live through the lifecycle of the cases as fully as possible: This is why I am returning.””

“…I think it’s incredible what we actually did, as a bunch of law students, change [federal] policy. That’s one of the proudest things I can say I’ve done, not only in law school but in life up to this point.”

Read the following blog posts and articles to learn more about LSC clinics and students’ experiences.

Consumer Protection Clinic:

Family Justice Clinic (formerly Domestic Violence and Family Law Clinic):

Housing Law Clinic:

         Housing Justice for Survivors Project:

LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic:

Tax Litigation Clinic:

Veterans Law & Disability Benefits Clinic:

         Veterans Justice Project:

         Estate Planning Project:

         Safety Net Project:


Visit the News page on LSC’s website to read more student perspectives about the LSC experience.

If you’d like to connect with a current or former LSC student in order to learn more about the LSC clinical experience or have follow-up questions about these FAQs, please send an email to us at lsc@law.harvard.edu.   

If you are already enrolled in an LSC clinic and have any follow-up questions about these FAQs, please reach out to your clinical instructor.

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