Student Attorneys Representing Clients
Under Maryland Rule 19-220, University of Baltimore clinic students represent clients with the supervision of our world-class clinical faculty. When you enroll in the clinical program, you'll learn to be a lawyer in a way you couldn't through classroom work alone. You will meet with clients, research their cases, advocate on their behalf and plan how best to meet their legal needs.
Clinics at the UBalt School of Law
The Bob Parsons Veterans Advocacy Clinic
students help veterans obtain benefits and assist them with other service-related legal needs. You will develop essential lawyering skills through direct representation, community outreach projects and legislative advocacy.
Recent accomplishments: Student-attorneys continued to advocate for more Veterans Treatment Courts in Maryland. Additionally, students represented veterans in VA benefits appeals, focusing on veterans with mental health issues. In one case, a veteran with severe depression was discharged after attempting suicide. Student-attorneys drafted a petition to upgrade her discharge from General to Honorable, which the Navy granted, making her eligible for educational benefits.
Bronfein Family Law Clinic students learn multidimensional lawyering through litigation, legislative advocacy and community-based projects. You will represent clients in court seeking civil-protection orders in cases of domestic violence and family law orders, including divorce, child custody, child adoption, child support and name changes.
Recent accomplishments: Clinic student-attorneys represented low-income clients in civil domestic violence cases and in complex divorce, child-custody, child-support and paternity cases as well as in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases. The student-attorneys conducted trials and hearings, drafted motions and complaints, and conducted innumerable interviews and legal counseling sessions. Working with the Reproductive Justice Inside coalition, they researched and wrote a model policy on reproductive health care and menstrual products for Maryland’s correctional facilities.
The Community Development Clinic provides a wide variety of transactional legal services to and advocacy for historically underserved communities in Baltimore. You will provide legal representation to community associations, nonprofit organizations and small-business owners on matters including business formation, operations and financing, land use and real estate acquisition.
Recent accomplishments: Student-attorneys assisted an urban farming nonprofit in revising its bylaws and establishing employment policies, advised an educational entrepreneur about small business formation options, and helped a disaster relief organization comply with benefit organization laws. To create systemic change, student-attorneys provided legal and policy support to community residents affected by Baltimore’s water crisis; this effort led to legislation adjusting water fees for the poor. Student-attorneys prepared and presented “know your rights” materials to community organizations and provided pro bono legal advice to prevent tax sales in collaboration with local legal aid organizations.
The Criminal Practice Clinic places you in a state’s attorney’s or public defender’s office. Under the supervision of an assistant state’s attorney or an assistant public defender, you will prosecute or defend people charged with crimes.
Recent accomplishments: Student-attorneys interviewed witnesses, investigated charges, negotiated pleas and argued motions in court for cases that involved drug possession, drunken driving, domestic violence and disorderly conduct, among other crimes.
In the Human Trafficking Prevention Project , student-attorneys work to reduce the collateral consequences of criminal legal involvement for survivors of human trafficking and those populations made most vulnerable to exploitation. Students also advocate for systemic criminal legal reform at both the state and federal level, as well as provide support for the legislative efforts of partnering agencies that are working to dismantle other oppressive systems impacting clients.
Recent accomplishments: Clinic student-attorneys represented survivors of human trafficking in expungement, vacatur and federal commutation cases. Clinic student-attorneys filed the clinic’s first presidential pardon application, as well as the first vacatur case ever submitted in Baltimore County in an attempt to set aside the prostitution convictions of a trafficking survivor who had been exploited since age 11.
In addition, the clinic worked with numerous organizational partners to submit written and oral testimony before the Maryland General Assembly in support of nine bills, several of which became law. The legislation included improvements to Maryland’s human trafficking laws, as well as efforts to reform the criminal legal system and improve the rights of transgender persons.
Immigrant Rights Clinic student-attorneys represent low-income immigrants in Immigration Court, in Maryland Circuit Court and before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services. Caseloads are as diverse as the clinic’s clients. During your clinical experience, you will touch on many areas of immigration practice—asylum law, family reunification, detention, naturalization and more—while representing clients from all over the world.
Recent accomplishments: Clinic student-attorneys represented asylum-seekers from Central America who had fled gang violence, domestic violence, or a combination of both. Some clients were families who had been separated and detained at the border. Other clients came from East Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Student-attorneys interviewed clients and witnesses; counseled clients on everything from case strategies to collateral issues; gathered evidence to prove their clients’ claims; addressed family members’ immigration options; and argued the cases in legal briefs at the asylum office and in court.
Making a Difference in the Immigrant Rights ClinicStudents in the Immigrant Rights Clinic help Latinx immigrants as part of an outreach program at Johns Hopkins Hospital called Centro SOL. The clinic’s student-attorneys offer free legal advice to patients who visit the Hopkins clinic for health care. While they wait for their appointments, the students interview them about their immigration history and later counsel them on their options.
“The individuals we encountered at the clinic endured abuse, violence, trauma, grief and hardship that would shock any listener,” says Stephen Gaines, J.D. ’20, who was one of the clinic’s student-attorneys. “Some have cried telling their fears of threats and the dreadful conditions in their home country. Many have been persecuted because of their identity as a homosexual, as a political dissident, as a person living with HIV, or for being part of some afflicted social group. Often, the government either inflicts the harm or is unable or unwilling to protect the persons who are being harmed because of their identity in their particular group. …
“I have committed to practicing immigration law in the future,” says Gaines. “I have chosen to practice immigration law because it is an area of law that actively animates one of America’s core values: diversity. Immigration law allows me to personify the value of increasing the vibrancy of America’s cultural fabric.”
Innocence Project Clinic
students learn client-centered lawyering, primarily through investigation and litigation. You will represent clients claiming factual innocence and will be involved in client, witness, fact and paper investigation; draft motions and briefs; and negotiate and argue in trial courts throughout Maryland.
Recent accomplishments: Clinic student-attorneys investigated more than 20 cases of factual innocence, filed multiple DNA testing petitions in Maryland Circuit Courts and presented two cases of factual innocence to the Baltimore City State’s Attorney Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). In December 2018 and again in May 2019, the clinic, in connection with the CIU, secured the exoneration of clients who had spent 27 and 24 years, respectively, in prison for crimes they did not commit.
Changing Lives Through the Innocence Project ClinicStudent-attorneys played a role in three recent exonerations of wrongfully convicted men. In December 2018, after extensive investigation by clinic faculty and students, Clarence Shipley Jr., of Baltimore was exonerated of all charges after serving 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. He had been falsely implicated by a jailhouse informant. Shipley’s alibi and witness identifications of a different suspect were not thoroughly investigated by police at the time.
Clinic investigators shared their findings with the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office’s Conviction Integrity Unit, which investigates potential wrongful conviction cases. The state’s attorney reviewed the new evidence and agreed that an exoneration was appropriate.
In May 2019, two Baltimore brothers were freed from prison after being exonerated of charges in a murder conspiracy. Eric Simmons and his brother, Kenneth McPherson, had been imprisoned for 25 years, even though the main witness against them was a paid informant. The UBalt School of Law’s clinic investigated Simmons’ claims of innocence and was able to corroborate his alibi. As in the earlier exoneration, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit agreed that the brothers should be cleared of all charges.
In November 2019, three men found their freedom after spending 36 years in prison. They were wrongfully convicted as teenagers for a 1983 murder. At their exoneration hearing, evidence was presented that Baltimore city police had pressured alleged eyewitnesses to falsely accuse the defendants. All four of those individuals later recanted their statements implicating the men. The UBalt Innocence Project Clinic represented one of the men, Alfred Chestnut.
Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic
, student-attorneys represent taxpayers in federal tax disputes. Cases involve administrative controversies before the IRS and the state comptroller’s office, as well as litigation in federal courts. You will be responsible for all aspects of representing clients, including interviewing and counseling clients, developing case strategy, engaging in fact investigation and discovery, drafting documents, negotiating with adversaries and conducting hearings and trials. You may also appear at the U.S. Tax Court in Baltimore to assist unrepresented taxpayers.
Recent accomplishments: The clinic’s student-attorneys filed its first three tax-refund suits in U.S. District Court, obtaining concessions from the U.S. Department of Justice in two of the three. The clinic’s student-attorneys also litigated more than 12 cases in U.S. Tax Court, obtaining favorable settlements or concessions in most, and successfully negotiated offers to compromise with the IRS on the tax liabilities of numerous low-income clients facing medical issues, financial problems and other serious life events.
As a student in the Mediation Clinic for Families , you will represent clients in the mediation process, co-mediate family law disputes and engage in projects designed to improve the practice of family mediation. Student mediators and attorneys often appear in cases before the Family Division of the Baltimore City Circuit Court, but they also may be involved in mediation in other contexts, such as cases in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and in international abduction mediations under the Hague Convention. In addition, students may represent clients in collaborative divorces.
Recent accomplishments: Clinic student-attorneys represented clients in mediation and mediated family disputes in the Circuit Court of Baltimore City. Student-attorneys also made presentations about mediation and conflict resolution as part of the Center for Urban Families’ STRIVE Future Leaders Program, which focuses on enhancing career readiness for Baltimore youth.
Students enrolled in the Mental Health Law Clinic will represent and advise children and adults facing involuntary psychiatric civil commitment within the Sheppard Pratt Health System. Administrative hearings are conducted each week and student-attorneys handle cases including the initial interviews of clients, witnesses and experts. Students also conduct case preparation and investigation. They research procedural errors, prepare memoranda and argue motions before administrative law judges. They examine witnesses and advocate for the rights of individual clients. Students also participate in research and preparation of pleadings and memoranda seeking habeas relief and judicial review.
Recent accomplishments: Students met with many adults and children, advising them of the right to postpone cases or admit themselves voluntarily, or to prepare for representation at commitment hearings. Student-attorneys successfully argued for the release of individuals in cases in which procedural errors occurred and in cases on which the merits were at issue. They extensively researched various issues, contacted witnesses and prepared arguments to present to the administrative law judge.
In the Saul Ewing Civil Advocacy Clinic , you will represent low-income clients in civil litigation. Caseloads are diverse and cover many areas of civil practice, including housing, employment, consumer rights, education and public benefits. Under faculty supervision, you will engage in the full range of activities involved in representing clients in litigation. The clinic also takes part in law reform projects to enhance civil legal policy and practice affecting low-income families and children.
Recent accomplishments: Clinic student-attorneys advocated for low-income individuals facing incorrect debt collection actions, tenants living in substandard conditions, individuals seeking to expunge criminal records so they can obtain employment, and elderly individuals defending against unsupported claims from former landlords. They also aided impoverished parents appealing denials regarding their children’s Social Security benefits, and seeking to enforce a judgment against an unscrupulous landlord who moved to a different country.
Faculty Spotlight: Michele GilmanVenable Professor of Law
B.A., Duke University
J.D., University of Michigan School of Law
Gilman is director of the Saul Ewing Civil Advocacy Clinic and co-director of the Center on Applied Feminism. Her scholarship focuses on issues relating to poverty, privacy, economic inequality and feminist legal theory. She was a faculty fellow at Data & Society in New York during the 2019-20 academic year, focusing on the intersection of data privacy law with the concerns of low-income communities.
Gilman joined the UBalt School of Law faculty in 2001. She is involved in numerous groups working on behalf of low-income Marylanders. She is a member of the Committee on Litigation and Legal Priorities of the ACLU of Maryland and the Judicial Selection Committee of the Women’s Law Center. She is the past president of the board of the Public Justice Center, where she served from 2004-2014, as well as a past member of the Maryland Bar’s Section Council on Delivery of Legal Services