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Legal Clinics

Capital Law School was one of the first law schools in the country to establish a legal clinic for indigent clients. Today, the clinic is the setting for a variety of programs--including general, civil, criminal, appellate advocacy, and family law. Capital's Clinical Program enables advanced students to experience, before graduating, the true-to-life excitement and challenge of legal practice.

Capital University Law School’s Legal Clinic provides no-cost legal services to a variety of individuals who would otherwise be unable to afford legal representation. The Clinic also provides students with the opportunity to develop and enhance their client counseling skills and professional ethics by representing indigent clients under the careful supervision of law professors and staff attorneys.

In addition to providing a valuable service to the community, students experience directly the excitement of legal practice. There is no more exhilarating feeling than standing up in court before a judge to advocate for your client. The comprehensive nature of the clinic immerses each student in the human drama inherent in actual client representation.

Contact Us

Office Hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Phone: 614-236-6245
Fax: 614-236-6970

Intent on fostering an appreciation of the vital intersection of law and complex human problems, Capital University Law School’s Legal Clinic gives students the experience, tools, and outlook they need to construct and implement creative, practical solutions to tomorrow’s legal questions. In a supportive, supervised environment that provides a unique opportunity for hands-on learning, students perform as attorneys representing actual clients in a wide variety of legal proceedings. Through various cases, they develop essential lawyering skills such as interviewing, negotiation, client counseling, fact investigation, conducting legal research, drafting legal documents, conducting direct and cross-examination, oral advocacy, case management, and theory and strategy development. Recently, two students drafted briefs and successfully argued cases before the Tenth District Court of Appeals on an environmental case and a misdemeanor traffic case.

The real-world backdrop of the clinical program not only fosters the development of lawyering skills, it also promotes a fuller understanding of substantive areas of law. By tackling the multiple issues raised in each case, Interns learn that the boundaries that compartmentalize law courses fade in actual practice.

Students are assigned cases in the following areas:

Criminal Defense

Students are assigned cases in which they represent indigent clients accused of a variety of criminal offenses. By working on behalf of clients on misdemeanor charges brought in the Franklin County Municipal Court, students get a firsthand look at the court system. Complex strategy and client counseling issues are among the challenges encountered. From the initial appearance at arraignments through final case disposition, Students speak in court on behalf of clients charged with misdemeanors, as well as probation violations.

Criminal Prosecution

Students may choose to prosecute misdemeanor cases in mayors’ courts. This involves appearing in mayor’s court and working with the city prosecutor or village solicitor in resolving various complaints. This entails plea negotiations as well as trials.

Domestic Relations

Students are assigned to represent clients in both divorce and dissolution actions. Typically a student is able to work on a domestic case from the initial interview to the final hearing before a judge in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations.

Tenant Rights & Issues

Students provide representation to people facing eviction, needing assistance to assert their right to habitable housing, assistance in recovering their security deposit or defending damage suits. They have the primary responsibility for negotiating with either the opposing party or their counsel and representing their client in the eviction hearing.

Wills and Related Documents

Students are assigned cases dealing with simple estate planning. In this area, students interview clients and based upon the information obtained, and the wishes of the clients, prepare Wills, Living Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care, and General Durable Powers of Attorney.

General Civil Matters

Students are assigned to represent clients in civil matters including consumer complaints, defense of personal injury suits and various other civil matters. In these cases, Interns will represent the client in both Municipal Court as well as the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

Family Advocacy

Students work with victims of domestic violence who are seeking Civil Protection Orders, or with contested custody cases.

Class Schedule

The General Litigation Clinic class is scheduled to meet on Wednesdays from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. In an effort to prepare students at the outset to handle various types of cases, i.e., domestic, criminal, civil, etc., there will be additional classes to teach the procedural and substantive elements of these areas. These classes are usually scheduled to start on the first Thursday immediately following the start of our regular Wednesday class for approximately 7 consecutive weekday mornings from 7:30 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. We have scheduled these early morning classes during the first week of school in an effort to avoid interfering with established schedules.

Legal Intern’s License

Rule II of the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio allows law students, who are in good standing and have completed two-thirds of their required hours to graduate (59 hours) to obtain a Legal Intern’s license for the limited practice of law. With a Legal Intern’s license, students are permitted to represent clients in civil matters and criminal misdemeanor cases, all under the supervision of a licensed attorney.

To apply for an Intern’s License, students should visit the Instructions to Applicants for Certification as Legal Interns page on the Supreme Court of Ohio's website.

Send the completed application to the Ohio Supreme Court along with a bank check or money order for $25.00. An Intern’s License will be issued by the Court and sent to the Legal Clinic.

Questions regarding the procedure for obtaining an Intern’s License, or general questions regarding the Legal Clinic can be addressed to any of the Clinic Faculty or Staff.

Family Advocacy Clinic

The Family Advocacy Clinic, which serves victims of family violence, is comprised of a Civil Protection Unit (CPU) and a Child Custody Unit (CCU). Law students who choose to intern in the CPU work with staff attorneys to assist victims to obtain protection orders against abusers. The CPU also provides assistance to these individuals with landlord/tenant issues, employment concerns, and divorce or dissolution proceedings. In the CCU the interns work with staff attorneys to provide full representation in contested child custody cases.

Capital University Law School’s Family Advocacy Clinic was founded in 2000 with an initial $250,000 grant from The Center for Family Safety and Healing (formerly the Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence). The Clinic serves victims of domestic violence who do not meet eligibility criteria to receive legal aid assistance, but who are still unable to afford representation by private counsel. The Clinic works to improve the legal and community services available to family violence victims within Franklin County and works to encourage community collaboration. Partners include the Legal Aid Society, CHOICES Shelter, Franklin County and the Columbus City Attorney’s Office.

For a downloadable Capital University Family Advocacy Clinic brochure, click here or call (614) 236-6779 for more information about the Family Advocacy Clinic. For information about the Center for Family Safety and Healing, visit

Mediation Clinic

Mediation clinic is a clinical experience for students who have completed the Mediation class. Students will mediate disputes in a variety of settings including Small Claims Court and the Municipal Court. Additionally, students will mediate disputes referred directly to the clinic. Students must have completed the first year evening courses and Mediation before enrolling in this 3 credit-hour clinic.

In addition to some classroom work involving general skills training in the techniques needed to conduct a mediation, students will spend a majority of the time conducting actual mediations at the Franklin County Municipal Court and the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Domestic Relations Division, Juvenile Branch. Types of mediation cases could include:

  • Conciliation Program - Mediations of civil disputes that have not yet been filed as actual law suits.
  • Small Claims Court Mediations involve disputes of $3,000.00 or less. Most trials are scheduled before a Magistrate within 4 to 6 weeks of filing. Attorneys may or may not be involved in these lawsuits.
  • Court Referred Mediations are cases that are referred by any of the 16 Judges of the Franklin County Municipal Court. Most of these cases have attorneys representing one or both sides. These disputes could involve matters ranging from 0 - $15,000.00.
  • Rent Escrow Mediations occur when a tenant officially places rent in escrow. The first step in the process of having the rent released is a mediation that is scheduled between the landlord and the tenant.
  • Juvenile Victim-Offender Mediation Program is a diversion program in Juvenile Court for first and second time juvenile offenders. This programs allows the victim and juvenile offender to meet in a face-to-face meeting with the assistance of a trained, neutral mediator. The parties work together to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the dispute; solutions could range from clarifications of misunderstandings, apologies, or agreements that compensate the victim for harm incurred by the offender. A co-mediator model is used.
  • Private mediations are mediations that become available through private, non-court affiliated requests.

For more information about Mediation Clinic, contact Professor Terry Wheeler at 614-221-0944.