UT Legal Clinic operates eight clinics, many of which provide direct client representation: Advocacy Clinic (civil and criminal litigation), the Business Law and Trademark Clinic, the Community Economic Development Clinic, Domestic Violence Clinic, Expungement Mini-clinic, and the Homer A. Jones Wills Clinic.
Typical cases: juvenile delinquency, adult criminal, expungement, court cost waivers, driver’s license restoration, special education, housing, wills and estates (including power of attorney, conservatorship, living wills), domestic violence (protective orders and related matters), nonprofit law (formation and assistance), and business/entrepreneurship law (formation, licensing agreements, technology transfer and commercialization, and related assistance).
Restrictions vary from case to case and based on each clinic. Income level, county of residence, and educational merits of the case may be taken into account.
Second-year and third-year law students represent clients under the supervision of faculty members. Clients must be unable to afford legal counsel (falling below a certain income level for individuals), and usually are appointed by the courts or referred by local non-profit partners. Some cases are accepted through walk-ins and telephone calls if the case falls within the area of expertise covered by one of the above-mentioned clinics and has sufficient educational merit for students. Clinics that are running at capacity may not be accepting new cases.
The Legal Clinic has been operating for over 70 years and is the oldest continually-operating law school clinic in the country. The clinic is located on the ground floor of the UT College of Law with a separate entrance and parking on James Agee Street right off of 1505 Cumberland Avenue entrance. For more information, please call or go to the clinic website.
Transactional Legal Clinics
The University of Tennessee College of Law’s Business Clinic and Community Economic Development Clinic (together, the “Transactional Legal Clinics”) provide free representation to small businesses, nonprofit organizations, start-ups, entrepreneurs, and artists.
Under the close supervision of licensed attorneys, the students attorneys in the Transactional Legal Clinics represent clients in transactional matters. The following is a non-exhaustive list of typical client matters, but we encourage our clients to contact us to determine if a particular legal need is appropriate for student attorney representation:
- entity choice and formation;
- trademark and copyright advice and registration;
- reviewing and drafting contracts, tax-exempt applications, and governance documents;
- legal audits (organizational check-ups);
- advice regarding hiring and firing of employees and independent contractors;
- board governance advice; and
- regulatory, licensing, permitting, and zoning advice.
A non-exhaustive list of transactional legal matters that the Transactional Legal Clinics do not accept follows:
- any matter before a court;
- patent advice and registration; and
- tax advice.
All student attorneys are subject to the same ethical and professional rules imposed upon licensed attorneys. This means, for example, that the student attorneys are required to maintain strict confidentiality of all information gleaned in connection with the representation, your private communications with student attorneys are protected by the attorney-client privilege, and the Transactional Legal Clinics cannot accept clients that have conflicts with current or former clinic clients.
The Transactional Legal Clinics have two ultimate goals: providing an invaluable educational experience for student attorneys, and providing free legal representation to clients who would not otherwise be able to afford representation. The educational goal requires a high level of supervision, which results in limited capacity. In addition, supervisors will sometimes intentionally slow down a representation to take advantage of an educational opportunity. As such, we are not able to take on legal matters that have a tight timeline. If you are curious as to whether your timeline is too restrictive, please contact the legal clinic.
Although clients are not charged for our legal services, clients are expected to cover administrative and filing fees charged by state and federal agencies. For example, if you are interested in filing a tax-exempt application, the student attorneys will help draft all the necessary documents and help you submit the application to the IRS, but you will be responsible for the IRS-charged filing fees associated with the submission.
Finally, because we are an educational institution, we operate on an academic year. Thus, we do not generally take on new clients during the summer. And although we conduct intake throughout the fall and spring semester, we generally do not take on new clients in the latter months of the semesters (November and December for the fall, and April and May for the spring).
If you are interested in receiving legal help from the transactional legal clinics you can fill out the intake form here: https://a2j.utlegalclinic.org/start/cedintake/
**Please note that filling out the intake form does not guarantee that you will receive any legal help. We have limited resources and unfortunately are unable to help everyone.