Third-year students are eligible to participate in the Public Defender Clinic. Under the Third Year Practice Act, students have the opportunity to appear in court at hearings and trials on behalf of clients. Students assist in the representation of clients of the local public defender office in all aspects of representation, including fact investigation, witness interviewing, legal research and drafting, and preparing cases for trials and hearings. During the Fall and Spring semesters, students work at least 14 hours per week in the public defender office. Additionally, students participate in a weekly faculty-led seminar to further develop practice skills, explore questions of professional satisfaction and identity, and to unpack ethical challenges that come with live-client representation.
Mercer Law has one of the first Asylum and Human Rights clinics in the state of Georgia and in the Southeast. Through the Asylum and Human Rights Clinic, students work on real-life asylum appeals. Students directly help clients who would otherwise have no legal representation in the complex immigration appeals process.
Professor Scott Titshaw, who practiced immigration law and served as chair of the Georgia/Alabama Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), supervises the clinic.
Students draft legal documents involved in immigration appeals, gaining experience in how to develop a compelling factual narrative and how to make effective arguments regarding points of law. The clinic files appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals in Washington, D.C.
“The opportunity to work on real-world cases and make a difference in someone’s life was an incredible and unique opportunity. We had the opportunity to meet experts in the field who gave us great advice for our cases. The clinic also taught me how to work with clients with a language barrier and how to approach helping clients in detention.” Kimberly Mimbs, class of 2021
Mercer Law’s Domestic Violence Clinic provides students with an opportunity to represent victims in Temporary Protective Orders. Under the supervision of Professor Bonnie Carlson, students are responsible for all aspects of trial preparation litigation.
The DVC is a two-semester, 4-hour graded course and it fulfills the advanced writing requirement and the experiential learning requirement. During the fall semester, students learn the Georgia law and court rules surrounding the issuance of Temporary Protective Orders, as well as client interviewing and counseling, negotiation, and trial skills. In the spring, students work in pairs to represent clients in Temporary Protective Order cases, starting with initial client interviews, investigating cases, drafting trial documents, and culminating with negotiating a settlement or litigating the case before the Bibb County Superior Court.
The course is open to 2Ls and 3Ls, with priority given to 3Ls. Students must successfully complete Evidence and the Law of Lawyering before the spring semester of the clinic. Students may not simultaneously be enrolled in any other externship.