Local legal leaders meet to discuss proposed Cooley clinic

The Ann Arbor campus of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School is planning to establish a new legal service clinic and is asking the Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County communities for help in determining what legal services are needed most.

To launch its effort, the school also recently held a focus group of legal community leaders at its Ann Arbor campus to discuss what type of clinic should be offered.

"Clinics give students hands-on legal experience while providing free, valuable services to the community," said Associate Dean Joan Vestrand, head of Cooley's Ann Arbor campus. "We've learned a great deal from our legal community during the focus group, and we hope to learn from other members of the legal community about what type of pro-bono legal services can make the biggest impact on our area's underserved population."

The school expects the new clinic to be operational by September 2011.

The new clinic will be in addition to Cooley's already established clinic in the Ann Arbor area, the Washtenaw County Public Defenders Clinic. In this clinic, law students are allowed to practice law, under Michigan Court Rule 8.120, while being supervised by a state bar member with the approval of a judge.

Students handle an array of defense work, which includes interviewing, counseling and representing indigent defendants charged with misdemeanors and felonies. For more information about other Cooley clinics, visit cooley.edu/clinics.

Suggestions from the community on the type of clinic that Cooley should offer can be sent to Vestrand at vestranj@cooley.edu.

Published: Thu, Aug 19, 2010

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