We work entirely on a pro bono basis. We don’t charge fees or ask clients to reimburse us for expenses.
We know our clients are busy. We have deep respect for management time and try to be thoughtful in our planning and efficient in our client interactions.
We recognize that people actually have to read and use our work products. To that end:
- We try to be practical in our advice and deliverables, and to bring a business sensibility to every engagement.
- We use plain language and pay considerable attention to document design.
- We create summaries, checklists, calendars, talking points, graphics, and other tools as well as traditional legal documents.
- We try to bring the same attention to e-mails and other client communications as we do to work products. We work hard to make our communications clear, concise, and informative.
More information about our approach and examples of our work are found on a website we maintain as a resource for law firms and clinics that represent nonprofits.
Engagements typically play out as follows:
- We operate during the fall and spring academic quarters. The fall term runs from late September into early December. The spring runs from late March/early April into early June.
- There is no formal application process. We talk with potential clients, explore project ideas, determine whether we have appropriate expertise, assess how the project fits into the overall portfolio for the particular quarter, and make a decision.
- If we go forward with a project, we ask the client to sign an engagement letter and send us relevant background materials prior to the beginning of the term.
- We try to scope and manage projects such that we complete them during the academic term.
- We generally carry out client projects with teams consisting of two students and one instructor. Students typically work for 3 – 4 clients during the term.
- The instructors are deeply involved in the work, including participating in client meetings, developing advice, reviewing and editing all work-products and client communications, and drafting documents.
- We schedule a project kick-off meeting or call with the client at the beginning of the term.
- The extent of contact after the kick-off varies by project nature and client preference; we try to be respectful of management time.
- We often walk clients through draft deliverables, respond to client questions and comments, and, in governance projects, brief boards or board committees about our recommendations.
- We ask clients for feedback at the end of the engagement.
- The instructors handle any carryover or follow-up work on an engagement, or sometimes involve advanced clinic students in that work.
Please note that we typically don’t take on new matters during the summer or other periods when the clinic is not operating.
We operate in accordance with State Bar of California rules relating to student legal practice and, as with any law firm in the state, the California Rules of Professional Conduct.