Service Learning

Service Learning photo

The law school provides students with opportunities for “learning by doing” and putting law into practice while serving members of the community who have inadequate access to legal services and information.

COMMUNITY SERVICE PROGRAM
The community service program offers students the chance to educate groups of people who do not have access to legal information about areas of the law. Students work with attorneys from the law school, Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, and Nevada Legal Services. Teams of first-year students are trained to prepare and conduct weekly workshops providing legal information to unrepresented people in areas such as bankruptcy, basic procedures in family or small claims court and paternity, custody, and guardianship. In partnership with the Neighborhood Justice Center, students also may fulfill the community service requirement by serving as mediators. Read more..

MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS TO SERVE THE COMMUNITY
Later in their law school careers, students have many other pro bono opportunities. For example, working one-on-one with an attorney mentor on pro bono cases in the “Partners in Pro Bono Program,” students gain valuable training and experience. Another option is to work with local immigration attorneys to provide information at citizenship fairs.

Students interested in tax law may be paired with attorneys from Nevada Legal Services Low Income Tax Clinic to provide low income tax payers pro bono assistance on the day of their appearance before the U.S. Tax Court.

These pro bono activities encourage students to develop a commitment to community service, to help meet the growing need for legal services, and to be a positive force in the community.

EXTERNSHIP PROGRAM
It is important to bridge the gap between law school and law practice. The Boyd School of Law’s externship program allows students to work closely with the legal community and blend theory with practice. This year-round program provides opportunities with the federal and state judiciary, government and public service agencies, and Nevada and U.S. legislatures. Externships are available locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally.

Judicial externship opportunities include working under the supervision of a judge in the U.S. District and Bankruptcy Courts, U.S. Immigration Court, or Nevada State Courts. Previous government and public interest externships include placement in the following agencies: Clark County District Attorney, Clark County Legal Services, Clark County Public Defender, Clark County School District, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Public Defender, Henderson City Attorney, Las Vegas City Attorney, National Labor Relations Board, Nevada and U.S. legislatures, Nevada Attorney General, Nevada Legal Services, Senior Law Center, U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, UNLV’s General Counsel’s Office, Washoe County Family Law Self-Help Center, and Washoe County Public Defender. The program is open to developing other placements consistent with student interest. Read more..

OTHER SERVICE LEARNING COURSES
To provide students a variety of ways to serve the community, faculty members have developed courses that include a field component allowing students to apply their knowledge and learn more about contexts where that knowledge can be used for service. Examples of service learning opportunities are:

The Criminalization of Immigrants: A Service Learning Response involves the intersection of immigration and criminal law where students partner with public defenders throughout the state to produce a manual that attorneys and judges in Nevada can use when faced with noncitizen defendants. The manual identifies Nevada crimes that have immigration consequences, explores strategies for ameliorating or avoiding these consequences, and identifies needed reform to Nevada statutes or practices when they result in unfair consequences to a noncitizen.
The course focuses on Nevada statutes, yet it has applicability
to criminal statutes of other jurisdictions and federal law.

Land Use and Community Economic Development explores community economic development with a special emphasis on affordable housing, the land use approval process, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area. Students write research papers, prepare materials, and work with local organizations on economic development and land use issues and work with local government agencies and local developers to research models of providing affordable housing to teachers or work with a nonprofit housing
advocacy group researching consumer credit issues (around
housing finance) or methods to increase the supply of
affordable housing.

Public Lands and Natural Resources Field Seminar focuses on the application of law and science to natural resource issues on public lands in the desert region. It includes a six-day field trip to the Kaibab Plateau, near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. On the trip, students visit areas on public land where significant legal issues have arisen concerning the management of natural resources, including old growth forests, rangelands, the Colorado River, and critical endangered species habitat. At each location, students discuss resource management and legal issues with federal/ state land managers and, in some cases, representatives of the environmentalist community and resource industries.

Legal Education & Assistance to Prisoners (LEAP) is a course where students learn about state and federal post-conviction remedies and family law and, in the field component of the course, provide training for inmates who work in the law libraries at several state correctional facilities in Southern Nevada. Students meet monthly with inmates to analyze training needs, conduct workshops, and develop self help materials for use by inmates in the prison law libraries.