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At Memphis Law, we are committed to graduating students who are prepared to practice law. Within our Experiential Learning Curriculum, you will build upon the foundation of doctrinal classwork by enrolling in James S. Gilliland Legal Clinic and Externship courses in which you immerse yourself in supervised, live-case and live-client work designed to develop your essential lawyering skills and professional values while serving the Memphis community. In our wide-ranging Simulation Courses, students gain substantial experience reasonably similar to the experience of a lawyer advising or representing a client or engaging in other lawyering tasks.

In going beyond what is required by the American Bar Association accreditation standards, all Memphis Law students are required to satisfactorily complete one or more experiential course(s) totaling at least six (6) credit hours, including at least one Legal Clinic or Externship Course. In fact, it is common for our law students to enroll in multiple Clinics, Externships, and Simulation Courses on the way to graduation.

The Experiential Learning Curriculum centers around three academic programs:

In-House Legal Clinics

The University of Memphis James S. Gilliland Legal Clinic is an academic program and professional law office housed within the walls of the law school. Working under the direct and ongoing supervision of licensed faculty members, clinic student attorneys represent clients in a wide variety of lawsuits and other legal matters, maintaining primary responsibility for all aspects of the cases to which they are assigned. Through their case-related work and simultaneous participation in a faculty-led, weekly seminar, clinic student attorneys further hone essential legal skills and take an important step toward becoming strategic, reflective, and self-aware attorneys.


The University of Memphis Externship Course offers upper-level law students the opportunity to earn academic credit for carefully supervised legal work they perform in a variety of practice settings throughout the Memphis area. Stepping outside the traditional classroom, externship students learn by doing and observing, further developing essential research and writing skills, communication abilities, and problem-solving techniques under the direction of local judges and attorneys. To maximize this experiential learning opportunity, externship students simultaneously participate in a faculty-led seminar designed to introduce the essential habits of the reflective practitioner and assessment of the skills, relationships, issues, and mindsets that prevail in the practice setting.

Field placements through the Externship Course include the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, U.S. District Court, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Tennessee Supreme Court, Tennessee Court of Appeals, Shelby County Circuit Court, U.S. Attorney's Office, Federal Public Defender's Office, Shelby County District Attorney General's Office, Shelby County Public Defender's Office, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Memphis Area Legal Services.

Simulation Courses

Simulation courses offer students the opportunity to develop litigation, transactional, and dispute resolution skills as they confront hypothetical scenarios and issues that arise in the day-to-day practice of law.