The experiential learning requirement at Gonzaga University School of Law is designed to help give law students a chance to get real-world legal experience before graduation. Employers appreciate that Gonzaga Law graduates can hit the ground running, and students appreciate it because they graduate law school ready to work. Engaging in experiential learning means serving real clients while working with practicing lawyers or judges.
Gonzaga Law was one of the first law schools to require experiential learning. The Law Clinic was started in 1974, among the first law schools to create a public service legal clinic; the Externship program has developed strong connections with placements in Washington and across the nation.
Each of the seven discrete clinics is organized to give you an opportunity to learn critical skills, where you will learn by doing. Credits earned in the Law Clinic qualify for the Experiential Learning requirement towards graduation. Each intern represents clients at all levels of the dispute-resolution process, and is responsible (under supervision) for case decisions and attorney-client collaboration.
Externship placements are available both in the Spokane, WA area and across the nation. Students serve in government, nonprofit, or not-for-profit institutions. Gonzaga Law students have served in placements as varied as Senator’s offices, prosecutor and public defender offices, city attorneys, courts of all levels across the country, University legal offices, and low-income legal services.
Fulfilling your Experiential Learning Requirement
Traditional three-year program students that begin classes 2014 or later are required to take at least 6 credit hours of Experiential Learning during their 2nd or 3rd year of legal education. Three-year program students that began classes from 2009-2013 are required to take at least 3 credit hours.
Students in the Accelerated J.D. program are required to take at least 8 credit hours of Experiential Learning credits.
Experiential Learning Requirement approved programs include the Legal Clinic and our Externship program placements.
Requirements for ELR
In order to enroll in experiential learning, a student must either be enrolled in or have completed a Professional Responsibility course. Students must apply for and be accepted into their choice of experiential learning credits.