Fall or spring semester: 3 credits
The Croak Community Legal Clinic, DePaul Law School’s newest clinic, launched in Fall of 2019. Students in the Croak Community Legal Clinic provide legal workshops and presentations on specified topics to DePaul students and the broader DePaul and Chicago community. Immediately after these presentations, students, under the supervision of an experienced attorney, provide limited-scope representation to attendees on the topic covered at the event. As part of the workshops and presentations, students collaborate with university partners and community organizations to connect with people who need legal help. The Croak Community Legal Clinic is a rare experiential learning opportunity for those students interested in community organizing, community education, and community empowerment.
Students learn about issues of access to justice, which the National Center for Access to Justice (NCAJ) defines as “the opportunity to understand the law and obtain its protection.” Due to limited resources, many people are forced to represent themselves when they encounter legal problems. Students in this clinic will help fill this justice gap by educating people about the legal system, providing them with resources, helping them understand their rights and responsibilities, and allowing them to better represent themselves in a legal situation.
Students in the Croak Community Legal Clinic are also integral contributors to a Student Legal Resources website and online self-help center, which will be a resource for DePaul students seeking legal assistance.
Each semester of the clinic will focus on different areas of the law. Each Fall will provide training on an area of civil law and each Spring will provide training on an area of criminal law. For the 2019-2020 academic year:
Autumn 2019 – Civil Legal Services
The Autumn semester of the clinic focuses on three areas of the law in which people often represent themselves: family law, landlord-tenant law, and consumer law. Students will give the following workshops:
- Self-Represented Litigant Divorce Clinic
- Tenants’ Rights Training
- Dealing with Debt Seminar
Spring 2020 – Criminal Justice
The Spring semester of the clinic will focus on issues of criminal justice, such as knowing your right in encounters with law enforcement and dealing with a criminal record.
Instructor: Sarah Baum
Instruction: This course is a combination of lecture, in-class discussion, skills instruction, and client counseling
Number of Students: Up to 6 per semester.
711 License: A 711 license is not required to participate in the Croak Community Legal Clinic
Eligibility: Only rising 2L and 3L students are eligible to apply. Evening students are encouraged to apply.
History of the Croak Community Legal Clinic
The clinic is named after Rev. Thomas M. Croak, C.M., a Vincentian priest and lawyer who dedicated his career at DePaul to educating students and standing up for access to justice. Rev. Croak started the Croak Student Legal Services to provide legal resources to DePaul students. The Croak Community Legal Clinic is an outgrowth of that program and a continuation of Rev. Croak’s dedication to knowledge, education and public service.