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Non-Profit Legal Clinic

The not-for-profit arena, often referred to as the "independent sector," is a burgeoning economic and legal force at the national and state level. This clinic develops students' professional skills through the representation of nonprofit entities or entities seeking nonprofit status. The NPLC weds student professional skills development to this growing and highly visible substantive area of law; introduces students to the panoply of issues with which general counsels to organizations must be familiar; and allows students to experience work with an organizational client.

What is the Nonprofit Legal Clinic?

The Nonprofit Legal Clinic is a three-credit, one semester, transactional legal clinic, offered to second- and third-year law students who have met the prerequisites listed below. It offers educational components and interdisciplinary program building within Indiana Law's three constituent communities: the School, the greater university, and the state of Indiana.

Within the Law School, the clinic bridges the gap for students between curriculum and practice in a client-based environment. At IU, the clinic has the opportunity to combine with other extant centers, degree programs, and interdisciplinary programs. In Indiana, the clinic aspires to become a resource for the nonprofit community of Indiana by offering a community service to selected clients, while at the same time educating students.

What skills will I develop?

The NPLC provides students with opportunities to engage in public interest lawyering through business and transactional work for non-profit organizations. Depending on clients' specific needs, students will form new entities; draft and negotiate contracts; provide basic tax advice;assist with funding and financing projects;advise on governance, communications and compliance matters; provide general corporate support to the clinic's clients; and provide other transactional legal assistance as needed. During the course of the semester students will develop fundamental analytical, editorial, counseling, planning and negotiation skills in the context of live projects as well as classroom work.

Skills honed by the NPLC are applicable to legal skills utilized in many other professional contexts: executing client intake procedures, client communication, interviewing and board meeting attendance, drafting of transactional documents as well as client memoranda, and preparing for and delivering presentations when appropriate. As in real-world practice, students work both individually and in teams. By definition, many nonprofit entities are corporations, and students participating in the NPLC will be working with clients who are every bit as visionary as their counterparts within the for-profit realm.

What is the time commitment?

The clinic is front-loaded on coursework the first six weeks of the semester, during which time class will meet for a total of three hours per week. For the remainder of the semester, class will meet one and a half hours one day each week in addition to a weekly one-hour individual supervision meeting. Students should expect to spend 12-15 hours per week on clinical matters.

I want to be a part of this...

Accepted students will take the clinical course for one semester, earning three credits, with the following requirements:

  • During the clinic's first year, student enrollment will be limited to six students per semester.
  • As a prerequisite to participation in the NPLC, students will either have already taken, or be concurrently enrolled in, at least one of the following three classes:
    1) Corporate or Income taxation;
    2) Transactional Drafting; or
    3) Corporations.
    Enrollment preference will be given to students who have already completed at least one of these courses.
  • Students seeking to enroll in the clinic will be asked to submit an unofficial transcript and a letter of interest to the NPLC director.
  • Students must have completed half of the credit hours required for graduation, pursuant to Indiana Rules of Court for certified legal interns.

For more information

Jennifer Prusak
Director, Nonprofit Legal Clinic
Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor of Law
e-mail: jsprusak@indiana.edu