Experiential learning is the cornerstone of the legal education you’ll receive at Cumberland School of Law. Through our centers, externship program and public interest live-client opportunities, every Cumberland student has the opportunity to put legal theory and skills into practice and assume the role of lawyer. Our students gain valuable experience in a clinical setting. Guided by full-time faculty, our students participate in customizable programs that provide real-work experience through casework management, research, client representation and advocacy. Because these experiences take place outside of the law school – often in courts, law firms, businesses and organizations – Cumberland students not only gain valuable experience, but are able to develop and maintain crucial networking relationships with future potential employers.
Experiential learning experience at Cumberland is gained through participation in the following:
Externships, coordinated through the director of clinical education, give students an opportunity to work with experienced lawyers and to apply in a real setting what they have learned in the classroom. These opportunities afford students a closer look at a particular area of practice or area of law. In general, externships give students the opportunity to enhance their advocacy skills through real-world practice in prosecutor’s offices, legal services programs, judge’s chambers and numerous other positions. Networking for future career options is a vital aspect of these experiences. Every student who wants an externship has the opportunity to participate.
Cumberland School of Law’s location in Birmingham affords students a thriving legal community with more than 4,000 practicing attorneys, federal and state courts and government agencies. We offer a strong externship program in:
- public interest offices
In addition to robust local opportunities during the school year, student have opportunities to work in externships throughout the country and abroad during the summer months.
Community Mediation Center
The Cumberland Community Mediation Center is a true distinction of our institution—it is the only community mediation center in the state of Alabama offering free, confidential meditation to communities surrounding the law school.
Students who have completed the mediator practice course can mediate for clients referred to the center. The center’s cases come from Alabama’s largest county court system, Jefferson County, including circuit court, family courts, district court and small claims court. In addition, attorneys refer cases to the center.
Public Interest Fellowship Program
The Public Interest Fellowship Program, a component of the Public Interest Program, provides stipends to rising second- and third-year students who spend their summer working unpaid for a public interest, government (local, state or federal) or a non-profit entity. A student can go anywhere in the country as long as the job requires legal skills.
Public Interest Live-Client Learning
Through the Public Interest Program, Cumberland School of Law offers numerous public service opportunities for students to gain real-world experience putting their legal skills to use. Programs pair students with lawyers, which not only provides valuable legal skills application but also a great networking opportunity.