The Law Clinic

Valparaiso University Law Clinic Program

If you are seeking legal assistance, please contact the Law Clinic directly at 219-465-7903.

The Valparaiso University Law Clinic, a licensed law firm, offers students the opportunity to represent clients during their third year of law school.  The Law Clinic is dedicated to providing free or low-cost legal services to disadvantaged members of the community.  Each year the clinic handles more than 700 cases.

With a special license from the Indiana Supreme Court, third year law students engage in a full range of lawyering duties:  client intake, interviewing, and counseling; research; discovery; preparing and arguing motions;  negotiating settlements; representing clients in court; and, more.  Clinic students graduate with a year of hands-on experience with live clients for whom they have provided meaningful professional services.

Valparaiso University Law Clinic is comprised of 9 Live-Client Practice Clinics:

Civil Clinic
The Civil Clinic involves direct client representation. Clinic students interview and counsel clients, draft legal pleadings and correspondence, conduct legal research, confront and resolve ethical issues, engage in negotiations with opposing counsel, and appear in court. Clients are assisted with a wide range of civil matters, including consumer disputes, debt collection, credit reporting problems, adoption, guardianship, and divorce. Students apply the law to the problems of real people, provide a valuable service to the community, and assume primary responsibility for representing clients in need.
Supervising Faculty Attorney: Marcia Gienapp

Criminal Clinic
Valparaiso Law students represent clients charged with a range of misdemeanors and felonies. Students conduct discovery, prepare and argue motions, negotiate plea agreements, and represent clients at all court proceedings, including bench and jury trials.
Supervising Faculty Attorney: Dave Welter

Domestic Violence Clinic
Students assist victims of domestic violence who are seeking temporary or permanent restraining orders. Students also provide advice, represent clients in court, and provide legal assistance to residents of domestic violence shelters.
Supervising Faculty Attorney: Geneva Brown

Immigration Clinic
Students participating in the Valparaiso Immigration Project represent immigrants with claims grounded in human rights and domestic and international law. They enhance their skills in trial practice, conduct legal research and writing, and interview and counsel clients, among other duties. Students also serve as lead counsel for asylum seekers, torture survivors, crime victims,  persons who have been trafficked into the US or abused or exploited here, and persons who are facing deportation as a result of immigration infractions.
Supervising Faculty Attorney: Geoffrey Heeren

Juvenile Clinic
Students are appointed to serve as guardian ad litem for children who have been abused, or neglected, or are involved in custody and visitation issues related to guardianship, paternity and adoption cases.  Students also serve as public defenders for children in delinquency cases.

Mediation Clinic
Understanding the nature of conflict and developing skills to resolve conflicts through negotiation are fundamental to the practice of law. Students in the Mediation Clinic receive intense training as mediators and then assist parties in resolving disputes filed in small claims courts.
Supervising Faculty Attorney: Barbara Schmidt

Post-Conviction Clinic
Students investigate and litigate claims of wrongful conviction, unjust sentences, factual innocence, and violations of procedural rights. Students file and litigate post-conviction petitions, habeas petitions, and motions for sentence modification.  These cases are complex and students spend the majority of time doing research, writing, and conducting fact investigation. In the past, students have prevented the deportation and separation of a young mother from her three-year-old child by attacking and setting aside a guilty plea and have reduced the sentence of a property offender from 110 years to time served.
Supervising Faculty Attorneys: David Vandercoy and Geneva Brown

Sports Law Clinic
For more information on the Sports Law Clinic, visit the Sports Law Clinic website.
Supervising Faculty Attorney: Michael Straubel

Tax Clinic
Participating students hone their lawyering skills by representing low income taxpayers in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Cases that are not resolved at the IRS level are often litigated by students in the United States Tax Court. For more information on the Tax Clinic, visit the Tax Clinic website. 
Supervising Faculty Attorney: Paul Kohlhoff