Legal Clinic

Legal Clinic in the United States

A law office that performs routine legal services at discount fees. Legal clinics largely serve middle-income clients who need legal assistance with wills or divorces. Clinics depend on high volume to be successful, and they engage heavily in media advertising to reach a wide clientele. Law clinics began to appear in the mid-1970s after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down many restrictions on lawyer advertising in the case of Bates v. State Bar of Arizona (433 U.S. 350: 1977). Removal of restrictions permitted clinics to advertise widely for prospective clients. Beyond volume, key to the financial success of legal clinics is efficiency. Greater efficiency comes from handling only certain kinds of cases, usually those that are quite straightforward. The economy of volume and efficiency allows clinics to charge lower fees. The low fees, in turn, provide the market appeal necessary to attract volume.

See Also

Legal Insurance (Judicial Personnel issue) (Judicial Personnel issue).

Analysis and Relevance

Legal clinics attempt to draw clients from a population that would probably not use lawyers from the more traditional practices. Like Legal Insurance ( U.S.), legal clinics have made professional services more widely accessible, particularly to the economic middle class. Many are critical of the clinic approach to the marketing of legal services and are skeptical about the quality of services rendered. Advertising aside, concerns about quality may be misplaced. Legal clinics largely confine themselves to several particular kinds of common legal problems. It appears that an efficient, high volume approach is possible without compromising the quality of service.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Legal Clinic from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Legal Clinic: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Legal Clinic. This part provides references, in relation to Legal Clinic, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Legal Clinic by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Legal Clinic and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Legal Clinic or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Legal Clinic and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Legal Clinic. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Legal Clinic should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Legal Clinic when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

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