Brandeis School of Law offers a number of experiential learning opportunities to extend students' experience beyond the classroom. These hands-on opportunities include a clinic that allows students to represent clients directly during Domestic Violence and Interpersonal Protective Order hearings, divorce and housing cases. Another clinic offers students an opportunity to work with University of Louisville College of Business Entrepreneurship MBA students as they launch businesses and compete with other schools.
Brandeis School of Law has a close relationship with the bench and bar in the City of Louisville, providing students with access to attorneys and judges. Externships provide opportunities to work with judges, represent clients, prepare and try cases and more.
Additionally, students must earn credit for public service and skills classes or experiences. They have opportunities to participate on a variety of moot court teams or work with legal publications. They also have an increasing amount of study-abroad opportunities.
All of these options provide Brandeis students with invaluable training beyond a textbook, honing their lawyering skills and preparing them for what's to come after graduation.
The Brandeis School of Law offers three clinics for students to gain hands-on legal experiences—The Robert and Sue Ellen Ackerson Law Clinic, the Entrepreneurship Clinic and the Mediation Clinic.
Robert and Sue Ellen Ackerson Law Clinic
The Robert and Sue Ellen Ackerson Law Clinic represents clients in Emergency Protective Order hearings, divorce actions, and housing cases. While most of our clients are referred from the Legal Aid Society of Louisville, we accept referrals from other agencies. Since its beginning in the spring semester of the 2009-2010 academic year, more than 70 students have participated in the Clinic.
The Clinic provides law students the opportunity to represent clients who are victims of domestic violence in Jefferson Family Court or clients who have forcible detainer (eviction) cases before Jefferson District Court. As such, the students are the primary contact with clients for all matters being handled by the Clinic.
All student work is supervised by the Director of the Clinic, Professor Shelley Santry, and staff attorney Heend Sheth. To be eligible to participate in the clinic, students must have completed 60 credit hours. This is a requirement under Rules of the Supreme Court (SCR) 2.540 to receive a limited license to practice law.
We do not charge for services performed through the Clinic. Our goals are to provide an educational experience for the students and to provide the community with an additional legal resource. Students take this class for one semester. If a matter requires assistance through the next semester, another student will be assigned to the client at the beginning of the semester.
Brandeis School of Law's Ackerson Law Clinic is located in downtown Louisville. To make an appointment, call 502-852-6556.
Entrepreneurship Law Clinic
The Brandeis School of Law created the Entrepreneurship Law Clinic in 2012 to provide law students with an experiential learning opportunity by providing legal support primarily to the Entrepreneurship MBA program at UofL’s College of Business.
The Entrepreneurship MBA students develop business ideas, form teams and compete in business plan competitions for seed funding. Client representation is fluid and depends upon the business ideas involved; however, the law clinic helps clients with things like articles of organization, operating agreements, opinions of counsel, independent contractor agreements and option agreements for technology.
The clinic can and does provide assistance to other students throughout the university with entrepreneurial legal questions.
The clinic is run like the corporate department of a law firm, with weekly firm meetings covering agreements, accounting, intellectual property, ethics, FDA approval and other topics. Students also receive support from law school faculty and a number of local firms and meet with MBA professors to get an understanding of their clients’ ideation process.
In the fall of 2017, the Brandeis School of Law opened the Mediation Clinic.
The Mediation Clinic is supervised by Professor Shelley Santry, who also directs the Robert and Sue Ellen Ackerson Law Clinic, along with adjunct Professor Corey Shiffman.
The clinic is open to 2Ls and 3Ls who have completed 40 hours of rigorous mediation training. Students come to the clinic as certified mediators ready to work with low-income pro se litigants who have been referred by Jefferson County Family Court judges. They mediate cases involving divorce, paternity, child custody and post-decree divorce problems. It is the only free mediation service in Louisville.
Through the clinical externship program, upper-level students perform law-related work and gain practical experience under the supervision of faculty and members of the bar. Externships provide opportunities to work with judges, represent clients through Legal Aid, and the Center for Women and Families, prepare and try cases through criminal justice agencies such as the Public Defender’s office, or work on tax law issues with the local office of the Internal Revenue Service.
Some specific examples include the Kentucky Innocence Project externship, judicial externships, legal aid externship, the Department of Advocacy externship and the Children's Law Center externship.