Clinical & Experiential Education
All of our students participate in a live-client clinic or real-world externship
before they graduate. In addition, the College has a number of cutting edge simulation
courses and a robust experiential appellate and trial advocacy program.
Instruction in the College’s clinics involves learning by doing, with small classes and direct supervision from clinical
professors actively engaged in the practice of law. The College has six clinical programs.
- Professor Rob Salem, a nationally recognized expert on anti-bullying efforts, teaches the Civil Advocacy Clinic, exposing students to a wide range of civil (that is, non-criminal) areas of legal
practice and advocacy. For instance, Professor Salem and his students recently won asylum for a gay couple from Russia.
- Professor Maara Fink teaches the Dispute Resolution Clinic, which trains students as mediators and then sends them to local court systems to
attempt to help parties resolve their disputes outside of litigation
- Professor Dan Nathan teaches the Children’s Rights Clinics, representing victims of abuse and neglect.
- The College recently added a Criminal Appeals Clinic, taught by practicing attorney
and part-time professor Debbie Rump.
- The Public Sector Externship Clinic places students in the offices of courts, governmental agencies, and non-profit
organizations under the supervision of attorneys.
- The Criminal Law Practice Program places students in externships with state and federal prosecutors’ offices.
Simulation courses emphasize Practical Learning in the classroom
Toledo Law offers other externship placements and simulation courses. In recent years,
those have included Constitutional Litigation (simulation), Pretrial Litigation (simulation),
Sports Law Practicum (externship), Motor Vehicle Collisions (simulation), and Employment
Law Drafting (simulation).
Build on practical skills in Moot Court and Trial Advocacy programs
The College of Law also provides practical learning experiences to students through
its intra- and inter-scholastic Moot Court and Trial Advocacy Programs. As members of the Trial Advocacy Team, students prepare and compete in mock trial
competitions against law schools across the country. The Moot Court Program gives
students the opportunity to practice their written and oral advocacy skills in mock
appeals cases. Faculty members serve as advisors to each of Toledo Law’s moot court
teams. Professor Lesa Byrnes coordinates the Moot Court Program.
Test your skills during Annual Charles W. Fornoff Appellate Advocacy Competition
The annual intra-school Charles W. Fornoff Appellate Advocacy Competition is a rite
of passage for many of our students. The competition begins in the spring of a student’s
first year and continues into the following fall semester. The double-elimination
tournament culminates with a final round held each fall in an auditorium packed with
faculty, family members, and peers. The final panel of judges typically includes federal
judges and state Supreme Court justices.
Faculty members are heavily involved in the Fornoff Competition, judging every student
round and providing advice to competitors. Professors Bryan Lammon (winner of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers’ Eisenberg Prize) and Eric Chaffee oversee the competition.
Q & A with
Clinical Professor Dan Nathan '04
Children’s Rights Clinics
Professor Dan Nathan teaches the Children’s Rights Clinics, representing indigent
clients in cases involving child custody, adoption, civil protection orders, and child
abuse and neglect.
Q. What do you hope every student learns in Toledo Law's legal clinics?
A. I hope every student learns:
- To have compassion for clients, despite their mistakes and flaws.
- To feel the pleasure of using her skills to help people with important matters.
- To gain confidence interacting with clients, attorneys, and judges.
- To learn the organizational skills crucial to competent representation.
- To understand that ethical issues will arise frequently and that maintaining one’s
integrity is crucial to life satisfaction.
- To be able to imagine herself practicing law.
Q. What makes our legal clinics a success?
A. Our students make the clinics successful. Students understand that what happens
here is real. Our work affects people’s lives. What our students lack in experience
they make up for in preparation.