In the fall of 1974, Peter Hoffman joined the faculty at the College of Law. Upon his arrival, Professor Hoffman set about to create the College’s first formal in-house clinic. Originally housed in the basement of McCollum Hall, the Civil Clinic formally opened during the spring semester of 1975, and has been in operation ever since. Until 1979, when the Criminal Clinic opened, the Civil Clinic was the only in-house clinical offering at the College of Law. Upon completion of the Welpton Courtroom building in 1983, the Civil Clinic moved from the basement of McCollum Hall to into the new space in the Welpton Courtroom. Beginning in the spring of 2017, the Civil Clinic will be housed in the new Marvin and Virginia Schmid Clinic Building.
Over the years, hundreds of students have passed through the Civil Clinic during their time at the College of Law, and have had the benefit of the experiential learning it afforded them. And although the primary goal of the Civil Clinic has always been to enable students to develop and hone their lawyering skills by assuming the role of practicing lawyers, those students have also provided thousands of hours of legal services to low-income clients who otherwise would have been unable to afford legal representation.
As the Civil Clinic enters its fifth decade of existence, it continues to be a vibrant experiential learning experience for students at the College of Law. Although the tools of the trade have changed from legal pads to laptops, and the location has changed from the basement to a beautiful new facility, the top-quality experience and education Civil Clinic students receive remains at the same high level as it was in 1975.