Workers' Rights Clinic Student Information
- JD students receive intensive supervision from clinic faculty on how to lawyer by engaging in all aspects of client representation, from intake to settlement to sometimes working on federal court cases.
- JD students make presentations on current issues and new developments in the law to multiple community and government organizations, including the State Bar of Arizona and the Arizona Employment Lawyers Association.
- BA in Law students intern with the clinic to provide interpretation and translation as well as to facilitate cross-cultural communication with clients while learning about the law, legal professions, and how to work as part of a legal team.
- Clinic students also engage in policy research and writing at the intersection of immigration and workers’ rights.
The majority of your time in the Workers' Rights Clinic will be devoted to casework--preparing for and conducting intake interviews, conducting legal research and writing to identify the legal issues and claims in a given matter, drafting client letters, meeting with clients to gather information and provide legal advice, drafting letters to adverse parties, engaging in settlement negotiations, and resolving disputes. Students who take the clinic for subsequent semesters also may draft civil complaints and engage in civil litigation.
You also will engage in weekly supervisor meetings, present your findings during "rounds" to your peers and supervisors, and work in teams with clinical students and faculty to develop cases.
In addition to your casework and the weekly classroom component that combines skills training, case discussions, ethics instruction, and guest speakers, you will make at least one "know-your-rights" presentation regarding the intersections of immigration, labor, and employment to a community group with which the clinic partners
First time clinic students may take the clinic for 3-4 credits and returning students may take the clinic for 1-5 credits after consultation with the Clinic Director.
- The clinic requires a semester-long intensive commitment. Once enrolled in the clinic, you may not drop the course.
- To participate in the clinic, you must have taken or be simultaneously enrolled in the University of Arizona Workers' Rights Clinic seminar.
- Some weekend and evening work may be required, and you should anticipate that the hours required for the clinic will vary throughout the semester according to the demands of the cases.
This is a graded course. There is no final exam. Grades will be based on measures including class participation, completion of required casework hours, periodic written assignments, handling of client matters, case and time management, and mid-and end-of year written self and supervisor assessments.
You must apply and be accepted in order to enroll in the clinic. To apply, complete and submit the Clinic Registration Form distributed by the Registrar's office during the registration period in the spring. All students who select the Workers' Rights Clinic on their registration form will be prompted to submit a resume and brief letter of interest to the clinic director. If you are selected to participate in the clinic, you will be notified before the close of the registration period.
WRC is such a phenomenal learning environment. You have the opportunity to talk strategy with experienced attorneys, examine state and federal law, and negotiate with the opposing party, all while helping people. Nothing beats it!
Annabel Barazza, Class of 2021
Even though Labor law is not the type of law I will practice, this clinic has been my favorite experience in law school. I really fell in love with this type of law because of the amazing environment that I learned it in. I feel like I was really given the room to thrive because my ideas and criticisms were genuinely accepted and considered, which in turn made me really want to do better and absorb everything that I could. I learned a lot of lawyering skills and I learned a lot about the law itself but I mostly felt respected and like the three attorneys really looked at me as a colleague that had something to add to the conversation. And even though I am going off to practice immigration law, I know I will be involved in worker’s rights somehow in my career.
Yesenia Gamez Valdez, Class of 2020
The Workers’ Rights Clinic has been one of the most important things I’ve done in law school. I plan on going into public service, so I won’t necessarily have a non-entity client. But having the opportunity to provide direct representation for someone gave me the sense of obligation that I think is so critical in law. I had the opportunity to be someone’s advocate. It was an incredible feeling.
Jeff Herrera, Class of 2020
Overall, the clinic exceeded my expectations. I learned more than I expected, and I feel more prepared (relatively) to practice. The clinic was a supportive environment to learn and to grow, and I am excited to take the skills I learned to my future opportunities.
Anrea Sharp, Class of 2021
Overall, the clinic definitely met my expectations. I learned a lot, really enjoyed having a client(!), appreciated the opportunity to develop and then refine applied skills, and feel good about the pace of learning.
Mika Galielee-Belfer, Class of 2020
The Workers’ Rights Clinic was the best law school experience I’ve had! I learned how to be a lawyer and an advocate. Because of the hands-on experience, I’ve learned things that I couldn’t have read in a textbook. For example, I know how to negotiate ethically and professionally with unreasonable employers and sophisticated lawyers. I know how to set client expectations. I understand how important client-centered lawyering is not only for our clients, but for our profession.
Taking this Clinic reminded me of why I came to law school, to advocate for people and provide access to the justice system. I’ve had a variety of experiences navigating the law with several clients. Working one-on-one with clients was invaluable. I now have the tools I need to help, sometimes, the most vulnerable members of our community. Listening to their stories reminds me that the cases we read involve real people and real lawyering. It’s rewarding to know that you are fighting for someone.
Working with the interpreters brings a different dynamic to our client interactions. It requires students to be culturally mindful and sensitive.
I think our client’s experiences have always been positive, even for the ones where we could no longer pursue their case. The Clinic provides students training to empower its clients legally, emotionally, and creatively. Client-centered representation is integral to the spirit of the Clinic and thematic throughout the entire semester. Students receive training before we even speak to our clients. There is a significant difference in the clients’ experience and the students’ experience because the Clinic is designed to be client-centered. What is more noteworthy than settling matters for two clients for over $13,000 combined, is the fact that our clients were empowered. The Clients often comes to the Clinic feeling defeated, confused, or disheartened. We restore their confidence and validate the truth. We equip them with the tools they needed to stand up for themselves. We take the burden off of their shoulders when we take their cases. We become the David to their Goliath. And, at the end, our clients have courage and a renewed spirit, even if we cannot continue their matter. Watching that change is astonishing.
Overall, the clinic exceeded my expectations. As I mentioned before, at the end of my 1L year, I didn’t think I was cut out to be a real lawyer. I felt defeated. But the Clinic renewed my spirit of advocacy. Not only did I have someone to help me become an advocate, they believed in me. And, that is what I needed. What worked well is the one-on-one supervision. The step-by-step case development gives students the opportunity to think things through, try new things, and develop their skills personally and professionally. Returning to the clinic four times says a lot about it. I was always challenged and never bored. I learned something more about the law every semester.
Karen Donderewicz, Class of 2020
My time at the clinic has been the highlight of law school, and confirmed my feeling that law school should train us to bring the law to those in need. In my semester of work, I negotiated thousands of dollars worth of settlement. My clients were incredibly grateful, and struggled to believe that our representation was free. They'd never before been protected by the law, and didn't think they could be. My competence expanded, and for the first time I felt like a lawyer.
Aaron Baumann, Class of 2016
I highly recommend the clinic for a comprehensive experience in employment law. Through the clinic, I really began to comprehend how local agencies work, how legal theories apply in practice, and how truly serving a client is more complex than just knowing the law. The clinic was certainly a lot of work, but what you get out of it is by far more than any traditional class could offer!
Livia Thevenard, Class of 2015
My experience working in the clinic was invaluable and hands down the most enjoyable thing that I've done in law school. It gave me a base knowledge about client interaction, interviewing, drafting demand letters, and negotiating. The client interaction was my favorite part; there is nothing like being an advocate for people who either don't understand their rights in the workplace or who are too scared to speak up against mistreatment. Using the law to give them a voice is an incredible thing that I will never forget.
Jamie Watkins, Class of 2013
I feel extremely lucky that the clinic was part of my law school experience. I learned how to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a case and incorporate them into negotiations with an employer—something I had never done before. It was also eye-opening to hear first-hand about the challenges many in the Tucson community face. Finally, the clinic taught me about employment law; I had never considered working in this area before, but now I really like it!
Emily Arnold, Class of 2014
The clinic changed my whole law school experience. I learned how to interview clients, perform legal research, and interact with opposing parties. One of my favorite parts was the community outreach component. These presentations were so valuable, not only because most people do not know what their rights are, but also because it let a vulnerable group know that there are services available to them. The clinic has something to offer to all students, and it will be one of your most memorable law school experiences!
Jillian Marini, Class of 2014
The clinic is an excellent way to work with multiple clients and to engage in policy work directed towards labor and employment law reforms. Thanks to the clinic, I have a legal interest that was previously unidentified.
Stephen Steele, Class of 2015