Duquesne University School of Law

Clinics and Externships

Civil Rights Clinic

The Civil Rights Clinic works with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations and the Pittsburgh chapter of the NAACP on matters involving employment, housing and public accommodation discrimination, and civil rights advocacy.

Family Law Clinic

The Family Law Clinic assists income-qualified clients with cases involving domestic abuse, divorce settlement, conservatorships, child support, and child custody, among other family law issues.

Federal Litigation Clinic

The Federal Litigation Clinic focuses on the litigation of cases pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Students provide legal representation under the supervision of licensed attorneys in federal civil rights matters for indigent individuals.

Unemployment Compensation Clinic

The Unemployment Compensation Clinic assists low-income clients with unemployment compensation matters including voluntary quit, willful misconduct, overpayment, offsets, seasonal work and eligibility issues.

Veterans Clinic

The Veterans Clinic assists veterans charged with non-violent offenses adjudicated through the Allegheny County Veterans Court program. The students prepare and present cases for disposition in the Court of Common Pleas and stay in touch with veterans to ensure they are following court-ordered substance abuse or mental health treatment plans offered as alternatives to incarceration. The program is one of the first criminal law veterans clinics in the country.

Practicums 

Urban Development Practicum

The Urban Development Practicum provides legal services to nonprofit community development organizations, municipal corporations and government agencies working in distressed communities. The real estate topics addressed include conservation easements, land acquisition, zoning issues and greening initiatives.

Externships

The Clinical Legal Education program provides dozens of externship opportunities offering educational and practical legal experience and professional mentorship. Yearlong externships feature on-site placement combined with classroom instruction and classroom and non-classroom credit. Half-year externships feature on-site placement combined with seminars and non-classroom credit.

Yearlong Externship Programs

  • Criminal Defense Program
    This program provides a live-client experience and classroom instruction in criminal defense. Students have the opportunity to assist in the representation of criminal defendants in cases being handled by the Allegheny County Office of Conflicts Counsel.
  • Criminal Prosecution Program
    This program provides students with an on-site externship at the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office and classroom instruction in criminal law. The weekly classroom seminar will cover all facets of criminal law from a suspect's arrest through the trial and post-trial stages. Students will rotate through the DA's office in accordance with the topics being covered in the classroom seminar.
  • KidsVoice Program
    This program provides students with an on-site externship at KidsVoice, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides legal representation to abused, neglected, and at-risk children. The program begins with extensive training. Each student is then paired with an experienced mentor attorney and teamed with in-house child advocacy specialists. Cases primarily involve the representation of children victimized in child abuse and neglect proceedings involving the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families. Students accepted into the program appear in court on behalf of the child-clients.
  • Public Defender Adult Program - Fall 2014
    This program is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the process of indigent criminal defense while offering practical, hands-on experiences. To that end, students will have the opportunity to prepare, file and argue various motions, handle preliminary hearings before district justices and participate in diverse interactions in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.
  • Public Defender Juvenile Program - Fall 2014 
    This program teaches students about the law and the practice of juvenile public defense by providing opportunities to interview clients, strategize with attorneys, draft motions, and represent clients in detention, disposition and review hearings.
  • Landlord Tenant Program - Fall 2014
    This program is designed to give students an understanding of landlord-tenant law while offering hands-on experience working with persons facing eviction. Students learn the stages of a landlord-tenant proceedings and receive an introduction to poverty law, subsidized housing, bankruptcy law, and domestic violence.

One-Semester and Summer-Session Externship Placements

The School of Law offers one-semester and summer-session externship placements in county, state and federal judicial offices; city, state and federal government agencies; and legal aid and non-profit organizations. Learn more and view a list of placement sites, including new externship opportunities in Washington, D.C. and Harrisburg.