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Civil Practice Clinic serves those in need while helping students hone their lawyering skills

December 12, 2016

In this video feature, members of the Penn Law community describe their experience with the Civil Practice Clinic. The Law School’s first in-house clinic, the Civil Practice Clinic gives students the opportunity to represent indigent clients in state and federal courts and develop their litigation skills under faculty supervision.



Jason A. Leckerman L’01, Partner, Ballard Spahr: People often ask me: “What classes should I take before I come and join the firm permanently?” And I say, you need to take a clinic, and you should, because that’s the way to transition from law school to practice.

Louis S. Rulli, Practice Professor of Law and Clinical Director: The Civil Practice Clinic is Penn’s oldest continuous running clinic. It places students in the driver’s seat of challenging civil litigation under close faculty supervision and mentorship.

Susana Medeiros L’17: After two years in law school, my experience was largely academic, and this was my first shot to actually do what lawyers do every day.

George Donnelly L’15: You’re helping people in some of the most difficult situations in their lives. You are learning about the procedure of litigation in a way that civ pro — which is wonderful, I love civ pro — it can’t teach you.

Rulli: Whether for government, for the private sector, or for public interest, our students are sharpening their essential lawyering skills that are necessary to give them a competitive advantage.

Leckerman: I did a number of things in the Civil Practice Clinic that I never thought I would do in law school. The one that stands out is an eight-day jury trial that I had in federal court in front of Judge Brody of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. That was the absolute highlight of my time at Penn and one of the highlights of my career.

Delores Stratford, Civil Practice Clinic client: Without Penn Law, I would not have been able to obtain the title to this house. And I thank Mr. Rulli and his clinic for what he did for me, and I know that he’s going to work on behalf of others to do the same thing.

Rulli: Students will both learn and enjoy becoming ethical, reflective practitioners.

Donnelly: Helping another human being improve their lives — I can’t think of a greater reward than that. And the Civil Practice Clinic allows you to really make that kind of positive change on people’s lives that you want to do as an attorney.

Medeiros: Taking the Civil Practice Clinic course has put me on a path to the kind of lawyer that I want to be. And so I would recommend to anyone even considering the clinic — do it. You won’t regret it.

Rulli: Leaders in our society that tackle the most important issues of our time.