Much of law school is spent learning about statutes and case law already on the books. The Legislative Clinic gives KU Law students a chance not only to observe but also actively participate in the formation of new laws. Students are assigned as interns to state legislators during the legislative session in nearby Topeka. Their responsibilities may include:
- taking notes at committee hearings
- conducting research
- assisting with constituent communications
- analyzing bills
- briefing legislators on potential issues
Some students even draft and edit legislation. In addition to their fieldwork, interns participate in a seminar on the legislative process and write research reports. The clinic, open to second- and third-year students, is in the spring semester.
A glimpse behind the scenes: Courtney Sipe, L'11
The floors of the Kansas House and Senate may be the most public venues for hashing out new laws, but Courtney Sipe, L’11, learned that the legislative process also depends on behind-the-scenes work in committee hearings and hallway conversations. During her internship with Rep. Julie Menghini (D-Pittsburg), Sipe researched a cut to the state’s historic preservation tax credit that had inadvertently stalled projects. She spoke with the revenue department and the state historical society to determine the impact of the change and how best to correct the problem. Eventually, legislators reversed the cut, with Menghini as the ranking minority member of the tax committee. “I have a lot more knowledge of the state legislative process that I had no idea about before,” Sipe said.
In addition to their fieldwork, interns participate in a seminar on the legislative process and write research reports. The clinic, open to second- and third-year students, is in the spring semester.
No application is required. Students enter the clinic by following standard enrollment procedures for:
- LAW 955 Legislative Clinic
- Students are assigned to state legislators or other offices that participate in the legislative process during the legislative session. A 2-hour seminar accompanies the fieldwork. A paper with two drafts is a required part of this seminar.
The class is not offered for the Fall 2014 semester.