UConn School of Law is a leader in experiential legal education, with a wide variety of clinical programs, a multitude of individual field placement courses, and several practice skills courses built into the curriculum:
We do require that the students, before they graduate, have some type of practical-based learning. You can do that through the clinics, and we have a variety of clinics that we have available for students. But we also allow people to do field placements and other types of essentially, guided experiences where they apply the lessons that they learned in the classroom in a real world setting.
Regardless of the clinic that the student decides to take, I think one of the features and one of the important parts of clinical education is that the student gets a real in-depth, real world-based experience with the topic or the type of law that they're practicing in the clinic. The main reason is because classroom learning, doctoring learning, and the actual practice of law so the study of law and the practice of law are actually very different.
You absolutely need the doctor and you need the lectures in the classrooms to get the basic principles of the law. And to learn how to think like a lawyer. But it's also very beneficial in a law school setting to have an opportunity for students to actually apply what they learned in the classroom. And learn those lawyering skills that you can really only learn by practicing.
In 2008, we initiated a Semester in DC program, which is basically, a program in which students move to Washington DC. They secure a field placement at a federal agency or a nonprofit located in DC. We just, this semester, initiated a New York City version of that.
So what's really special about the New York and DC semesters is that students get exposed to the legal culture. They can make professional contacts. But most importantly, it exposes them to work of an agency or organization that helps them really define their own career paths and hone their career objectives.