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Social Justice Clinics at WMU Cooley Law School

Social Justice Clinics


Some might consider social justice a trend. But at WMU-Cooley, it’s been an essential part of our identity for nearly 50 years. We were the first law school in the nation to require that all students participate in some form of experiential learning prior to graduation. Many of our students say this is the highlight of their legal education. It’s an opportunity to put your passion for serving others into action, even before you leave law school.

Our Clinics Immerse You in Real-World Experience

Unlike students at most schools, you will already have real-world practice when you enter the legal profession. All students must complete at least three credit hours of participation in a clinic — essentially, an internal law firm of students who do pro bono work under an experienced faculty member’s supervision — or an externship with a practicing attorney or judge.
Our social justice clinics empower you to make a difference in the lives of those who have experienced injustice. You decide how you want to engage in social justice initiatives with your choice of participation in the following clinics:

The WMU-Cooley Innocence Project

The WMU-Cooley Innocence Project has the dual mission to identify, provide legal assistance to, and secure the release of persons who are wrongfully imprisoned for crimes they did not commit, and to provide its students with an excellent learning experience. The clinic accepts cases where DNA evidence or unreliable forensics may establish innocence.

Access to Justice Clinic

WMU-Cooley’s Access to Justice Clinic provides legal representation to those seeking to expunge their criminal convictions or remove their names from Michigan’s Health and Human Services central registry. Through volunteering at community outreach events and giving presentations on the topics of expungement and central registry name removal, the clinic also educates the general public about issues facing ex-offenders as they seek successful re-entry into society.

Public Defender Clinic

Students in the Public Defender Clinic work on a variety of criminal cases (misdemeanors and felonies) in the Washtenaw County District and Circuit Courts and juvenile cases (delinquency, abuse, and neglect) in the Washtenaw County Probate Court.