An innovative concept that grew from Summits’ work at the Human Services Campus (HSC) and other off-campus community sites. Under the guidance of former Professor Lisa Bliss, who taught the first HSC Legal Clinic, a model quickly developed - delivering unbundled, empowerment-focused limited scope legal advice and assistance to individuals on a weekly drop-in basis.
Starting with California Attorney Forrest “Woody” Mosten’s concept of “unbundled legal services,” Summit added a restorative, therapeutic, rehabilitative, and client-empowering approach to the legal work. This model has been successfully serving individuals recovering from homelessness, since January, 2013.
In this model, clients are not limited in the amount of time or number of visits they can make to the clinic. They meet with and are advised by individuals permitted to practice law in Arizona and receive legal advice and assistance, meeting with Rule 38 Certified Limited Practice Students supervised by a licensed attorney/professor or with other licensed attorneys. Clients are empowered to learn how to handle their own legal matters if they cannot afford an attorney or are not entitled to a free attorney. This model delivers legal advice and assistance in a way that does not tax the resources of the client or the lawyer, addresses the access to justice gap, and helps solve some of the problems encountered by self-represented clients and litigants.
Clients and lawyers are seen as equals who work together as a team to solve the client’s legal matters. These clients are often shown how to access their case information online, are helped to “tell their story,” or are shepherded through navigating how to find a pro bono or private attorney. Clients presenting matters beyond the scope of the clinic are referred to other resources for legal assistance, including non-profit organizations, pro bono programs, and private and pro bono attorneys.
The model expanded to serve clients at Father Matters, a nonprofit organization serving parents seeking more time and involvement with their children. In 2015, it expanded to serve veterans, entrepreneurs, artists, and creative individuals. It was used in Summit’ Day of Pro Bono Legal Service where faculty, alumni, students, and staff came together for one day on campus to serve individuals in the local community who needed legal assistance in a wide variety of areas: landlord/tenant, employment law, family law, real estate, and more.
Entrepreneurship / Intellectual Property (EIP) Clinic Without Walls
This clinic began in Fall, 2015 under the guidance of Professor Brigham Fordham, an intellectual property law expert. Professor Susan Daicoff also provides corporate, business, and contract law expertise to the clinic, along with a regard for federal income tax concerns. Current students in the clinic are building its foundations, identifying clients and projects, researching online legal resources in the area of EIP, and developing legal advice and assistance for new business entrepreneurs and creative individuals such as artists, entertainers, and songwriters. Basic business entity formation, copyright law, and trademark law are the focus of the clinic’s legal practice.
Human Services Campus Clinic Without Walls This clinic provides legal assistance at the HSC’s 13-acre downtown campus serving those currently experiencing homelessness. With 1,000 to 1,500 individuals on campus at any given time; this clinic serves up to 175 clients per semester. Students work in teams of two or more, under the direct supervision of the professor. They will interview, counsel, and provide direct legal services to 3-4 clients per week, face-to-face, so students gain significant experience working directly with clients. Legal areas vary widely, from basic criminal case research, to family law, landlord/tenant, property, and post-conviction relief. This clinic takes an explicitly therapeutic jurisprudential/interdisciplinary approach to serving its clients, using the vast medical, social service, employment, housing, identification, Homeless Court, and mental health resources onsite at the HSC. It provides a foundation for students wishing to work in a public defenders’ office, a prosecutors’ office, criminal law, public interest law, or general practice.
Veterans’ Legal Assistance Clinic Without Walls
This clinic revived our previous Veterans’ Clinic, at the request of two dedicated veteran law students who have been developing it since January, 2015 – utilizing the unbundled, therapeutic, and restorative approach described above, with veterans in need of legal advice and assistance. The “veteran-to-veteran” (V2V) connection in this clinic is unique and inspiring. Veteran-friendly students who are not themselves veterans are, of course, welcome to enroll. This clinic takes an explicitly therapeutic jurisprudential / interdisciplinary approach to serving its clients, to good effect, and partners with other veteran-focused community resources.
American Indian Wills Clinic
This innovative intersession clinic is truly a “clinic without walls.” After training, the professor and students travel to various reservations to write wills for tribal members, taking into account the unique and special American Indian laws governing tribal members’ property and inheritances. It offers students a “study abroad” experience, traveling to other “nations” within Arizona, without leaving the state. The unique area of the law learned in this clinic is a great addition to one’s education and skills.
Domestic Violence Clinic
This clinic has ranged from representing victims of domestic violence in court in orders of protection hearings, to representing victims of domestic violence in civil matters relating to safety, to representing victims of domestic violence or their families in obtaining civil tort recovery for their injuries.
Unbundled Family Law Clinic
This clinic is our “capstone” clinic, offering students the opportunity to represent family law clients in a full scope legal representation model, from initial interview and intake, to filing a petition for relief with the court, to representing the client at various court appearances and hearings, to preparing for and handling a full-blown trial, if available. It is the most litigation-oriented clinic Summit offers and should be taken only after the student has had enough experiences with law practice that he or she is ready to represent a client as the “first chair” (not the second chair or law clerk) and is eligible for Rule 38 Certified Limited Practice status. For students ready for a challenging experience, this clinic can serve as the highlight of their time in law school. Several students recently handled a full trial in this clinic.