Field Placement Clinic FAQ

Field Placement Clinic FAQ

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I apply for a field placement?
Students apply for field placements through the Albany Law Clinic & Justice Center. Clinic Course and Registration Materials, which are available on the law school website, explain the application process in detail. Students who have successfully completed one year of law school may submit an application for a placement along a copy of your resume and a conflict of interest form. Your resume and conflict form will be forwarded to your placement choice by the Clinic. Selections are then made by the placements.   
2. What do I do if I am not accepted at my placement of choice?
Albany Law offers approximately 200 field placement opportunities. Although we cannot guarantee your first choice, we can find an appropriate educational placement for any qualified student who wants one and is flexible. You will have an opportunity to submit additional applications later in the process.
3. What should I do if I don't hear back from the placement to which I have applied?
Although we ask placements to contact us about student selection by certain dates, some placements may not always able to meet our deadlines due to pressing business or personnel changes. Please be patient, but let the Clinic know if you are still waiting to hear. We will follow up with offices periodically to check on the status of our applications.
4. How many hours do I have to work in a field placement, and is there a set schedule?
All four credit field placements require students to work at their assigned offices for a minimum of 168 hours for the semester (approx. 12 hours/week). You should arrange your schedule directly with the placement. We recommend that you schedule large blocks of time and that you consult with your supervising attorney as to days/times that are most advantageous to work. (e.g., when trials, hearing, meetings, conferences, etc. are likely to take place.)
5. May I begin to count hours I work at my field placement before the semester starts?
No.  However, if your Supervising Attorney requests your presence in the office for training or orientation purposes, and you receive approval from the Director of Field Placements, you may count up to 12 pre-semester hours.
6. What if my office is closed on a day I am scheduled to work?  Do I have to make up the time?
Yes.  You are still required to complete a minimum of 168 field hours by the end of the semester.  We suggest that you take school vacation days and national holidays into consideration when setting up your schedule with your supervising attorney.
7. May I front load my field placement hours to end my placement early?
With the approval of your Supervising Attorney, you may complete the field work portion of your placement up to two weeks early, but absent special circumstances, no earlier than that.  Alternatively, with the permission of your Supervising Attorney, you may bank extra hours in order to work a reduced schedule for the final one to two weeks of the semester.  
We prefer students to work for the full semester for several educational reasons:
�         In order to get the most out of your clinical experience, it is important that you have sufficient time and opportunity to engage in lawyering tasks, receive feedback, reflect, re-do assignments, apply feedback and self-reflection to new assignments/ experiences, etc. The more opportunities for performance, feedback, reflection and application, the better.   
�         You have greater opportunity to learn about your office and the legal system in general as well as see cases and projects develop over time.             
Please note that you must continue to attend your weekly or bi-weekly field placement class and complete all of the other requirements of your field placement clinic course.
8.  May I do more than one field placement at a time?
No, this is not permitted. It is simply not realistic to do so. You will be spending at least 12 hours per week at your placement. Many students do more in order to be able to participate in bigger projects. It helps to be flexible in your placement so that you can take advantage of educational opportunities that may arise. This would be impossible with an additional placement and other school work.
9. Can I be paid by my placement and also receive credit?
No. You cannot receive credit and pay for the same work. This is considered a violation of ABA as well as department of labor rules. You are permitted, however, to be reimbursed by your placement for out-of-pocket expenses in connection with attending your placement.
10. Am I permitted to continue my placement for more than one semester?
It depends. You may continue as long as you are able to take on new and additional assignments and challenges in the second semester. Since the focus of the field placement clinic is your education, we want to be sure you continue to learn new things. 
Note: a select number of placements such as the U.S. Attorneys Office are full year placements.
11. Why do I have to write a reflection paper at the end of the semester?
Reflection is a critical part of your clinical education. You will learn by reflecting upon your legal work and applying your experience to the next legal challenge. We hope that you will learn from your experience and that you will use the field placement opportunity to think critically about the work that you do in your placement, the nature of the legal system, and your role in the legal system. 
12. How are field placements graded?
Field placement courses are graded on a pass/fail basis. The director of field placement clinics will award the grade based upon completion of all course requirements including field hours, evaluations, and the recommendations of your placement supervising attorney, and adjunct clinical faculty.