Resources for the Community
The Consumer Protection Clinic has a Housing Legal Advice Hotline at 210-570-6135 that offers free legal information, advice, and referrals for people under threat of eviction or foreclosure.
The number for Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid is 888-988-9996. If you need rent assistance in the City of San Antonio, call 210-207-5910, or go to the SALSA Clinic at Haven for Hope on Wednesdays from 2 to 4 p.m.
About the Clinical Program
The clinical courses are dedicated to educating students at St. Mary’s while addressing the otherwise unmet legal needs of income-qualified people in San Antonio and South Texas.
Being a Student Attorney
They interview and counsel clients, investigate facts to obtain and organize evidence, draft legal documents, negotiate with opposing counsel and administrative agencies and try actual cases in district, county and administrative courts.
Serving the Community
Through their clinical work, students at St. Mary’s provide significant service to the community by augmenting the legal resources available to serve the people in San Antonio and South Texas.
The Commitment Required
For their individual cases, student attorneys must commit to regular office hours and legal outreach, in addition to their classroom time. Each clinic is one semester long and six credit hours. Second semester options are sometimes available for three credits.
Civil Justice Clinics
The Civil Justice Clinics offer an introduction to one or more areas of civil practice, as well as essential lawyering skills such as interviewing and counseling, case planning, document drafting, and discovery.
In addition to work on real cases, the Civil Justice Clinic includes a classroom component covering substantive law and lawyering skills. The classroom component includes lectures, discussions, group exercises, and simulations to help students prepare for legal practice.
The Civil Justice Clinics are open to second- and third-year law students, with preference given to those students with 30 or more credit hours [the credit hour requirement for a Texas Temporary Trial Card for Qualified Law Students, (“Student Bar Card”)].
Faculty: Clinical Professor of Law Dayla S. Pepi
The consumer protection practice area focuses on economic justice for low-income homeowners. Student attorneys protect clients from abusive and unfair sales practices, including fraudulent home sales and foreclosures in state and federal court. Student attorneys also represent clients in transactional real estate matters, in order to secure home equity and to promote access to disaster and repair assistance programs.
Faculty: Clinical Professor of Law Genevieve Hébert Fajardo
Criminal Justice Clinic
Some of the types of cases students handle include:
- driving while intoxicated
- possession of controlled substances, and
A Texas Temporary Trial Card for Qualified Law Students (“Student Bar Card”) is necessary to participate in the representation of clients in court in Texas. Students must have completed at least 30 hours of legal study to be eligible for a Student Bar Card, which is required for enrollment in the Criminal Justice Clinic.
The clinic experience includes weekly classes on Texas criminal procedure, the rules of evidence, professional responsibility, as well as practical advice. Students are required to participate in weekly courtroom simulations to prepare for trial. For example, students will prepare and deliver opening statements and closing arguments and cross-examine witnesses in a mock setting to learn and improve advocacy skills.
Immigration and Human Rights Clinic
This for-credit course is open to second- and third-year students who learn to:
- interview and counsel clients
- develop case strategy
- prepare applications
- gather and organize evidence
- draft motions and briefs, and
- appear on behalf of their clients before the agency and courts
In addition, students are expected to participate in broader community service, which most recently has involved working with pro bono agencies assisting families detained in Karnes City and Dilley, Texas. It is strongly recommended that students enrolled in the clinic have completed or be concurrently taking the Immigration Law course.
The classroom component of the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic course includes a practice-oriented examination of complex immigration law and specially tailored exercises and simulations designed to instill the basics of good legal practice.
The classwork focuses on issues regularly encountered in the clinic’s case work, allowing students an opportunity to analyze the legal and social impediments to their cases, as well as a chance to develop and reflect on the strategic choices they make.
Faculty: Clinical Professor of Law Erica Schommer