Clinical Areas

The C-K Law Group’s clinics, each headed by an experienced practitioner, are listed below, along with articles and links to their individual websites, where applicable. Additionally, Chicago-Kent’s Environmental and Energy Law Clinic, which is not part of the C-K Law Group, has been included.

List of Clinical Areas

Under the supervision and tutelage of experienced veteran criminal defense attorney and Clinical Professor Richard S. Kling, students are exposed to an extraordinarily wide range of cases including state and federal serious felonies including capital cases, state and federal appellate and post conviction matters, and civil commitment proceedings for persons alleged by the state to be sexually violent. Students do investigative work including on the street investigations, jail visits, witness interviews and witness preparation, trial preparation, motion and brief writing, and all aspects of case analyses. Under an Illinois Supreme Court Rule, students have argued cases in the trial courts as well as in Illinois and Federal Appellate courts.

The Civil Litigation Clinic represents plaintiffs in cases that involve employment discrimination and retaliation, wage and hour law, whistleblower actions, consumer law, class actions, and other complex litigation. Clinical supervisor and Professor Jamie Franklin has represented plaintiffs in complex civil litigation her entire career and has headed the clinic since 2020.

Students will practice in federal court, state courts, arbitration forums, and government agencies. A unique aspect of this clinic is that Professor Franklin focuses on complex litigation. She brings class actions on a regular basis, allowing students to experience litigating a class case. She also specializes in qui tam (False Claims Act) litigation, in which whistleblowers recover lost funds for the government.

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This clinic is not currently offered but we hope to do so in a future semester.  

The Employee Benefit Claims Clinic, headed by Professor William Reynolds, focuses on benefit claims made under employer-sponsored health, disability, life, and accidental death policies. The clinic will provide an introduction to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and applicable state law. Students will have the opportunity to work on benefit claims disputes in both the internal appeals process and in litigation.

In partnership with the Greater Chicago Legal Clinic and headed by founder Keith Harley, the Environmental and Energy Law Clinic was a frontrunner in the environmental justice movement, established in the 1980s to serve underrepresented communities on Chicago’s South Side. It has succeeded against Goliathan opponents, from coal fire conglomerates to city hall, and defends people who, but for the clinic, would be unrepresented in environmental matters that directly affect the health, safety, and welfare of their families and communities.

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The Estate Planning, Probate and Transactional Law Clinic headed by Professor Deadra Woods Stokes is a comprehensive clinic that provides legal services to clients in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate, Business and Real Estate Transactions.  Students enrolled in the clinic will have the opportunity to draft Estate Planning documents including but not limited to Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorneys and other Estate Planning directive documentation for clients.  The Clinic’s Probate case matters primarily focus on Decedent’s Estate and students enrolled will participate in Client Intake, drafting of Petitions as well as Court Preparation and Court Appearance in state court. Students interested in Transactional Law will be provided the opportunity to assist consumers and small business owners with business and real estate related contracts and transactions. 

Represents parents and children in domestic relations matters ranging from pre- and post-nuptial agreements; legal separation; divorce; allocation of parenting time and responsibilities; child support; spousal support; and post-decree enforcement, from inception through settlement or trial. The clinic, headed by Professor Rhonda E. de Freitas, a veteran family law attorney, operates on a sliding-scale fee basis, taking into the account the financial circumstances of the parties. It engages in mediation, litigation, collaborative law, and arbitration. 

Students enrolled in the Family Law Clinic will have the opportunity to engage in all aspects of the case, including client interviews; discovery; preparation of motions, pleadings and correspondence; pretrial conferences; depositions; and preparation for settlement or trial. The goal is to provide students with a basic comfort level in family law practice as well as a firm understanding of the unique practical and ethical considerations in these sensitive cases.  Students may also assist in home visits or other tasks related to the representation of children in custody disputes and in the preparation of subsequent reports. In certain circumstances students may be called as witnesses during trial to provide evidence of their observations. Because domestic relations cases touch on many other substantive areas, students will be exposed to civil procedure, tax, bankruptcy, corporate, real estate, and contract law in the course of their clinic casework. 

The Family Law Clinic provides an invaluable opportunity to learn more about this important area of practice.

Teaches about United States immigration law and practice, with a particular focus on family-based immigration and removal defense. Under the supervision of Professor Victoria Carmona, students will have the opportunity to practice factual investigation and analysis, legal research, drafting, and client interviewing and counseling.  

Students assist clients in preparing affirmative applications and attending interviews before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services including applications for permanent residency, citizenship, and humanitarian relief including: asylum, special immigrant juvenile, DACA, stays of removal, U-visa, and VAWA. Students will also have the opportunity to attend removal proceedings for defensive relief before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (Immigration Court), including asylum/withholding/CAT and cancellation of removal.

Students will regularly meet with, interview, and counsel clients; prepare and file applications, draft affidavits, secure corroborating evidence, draft trial memoranda, engage in trial preparation with clients and witnesses, and may have the opportunity to represent clients directly in court.

Students need not have previous experience or knowledge of immigration law.

Student interns in the Intellectual Property—Patent Clinic assist faculty and students at Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Illinois at Chicago, and other tech-transfer or school-related companies or institutions on selected “real-life” patent-related matters. Student interns work with and are supervised by adjunct clinical faculty, who are patent lawyers at the downtown Chicago office of international law firm K&L Gates LLP, in providing patentability opinions, performing clearance searches, and guiding clients through the range of intellectual property legal issues that typically face start-up inventors and companies. In addition, the student interns make presentations to Illinois Institute of Technology faculty and students on patent issues in an attempt to educate and market the IP—Patent Clinic to the faculty and students

Prerequisites: Prior completion of Patent Law is preferred but not required. Because the IP—Patent Clinic experience will involve working with technology, it is very strongly recommended that students possess a technical background, and preference will be given to those students in selecting clinic interns.

Note:  This clinic is not offered every semester. 

Did you know that over 95% of cases are settled before going to trial? The Mediation/ADR clinic has been training students and producing outstanding mediators for over 25 years and has settled countless cases and helped thousands of people find a way out of conflict..

Under the supervision of Professor Pamela Kentra, students in the clinic attend an intensive mediation skills training with the highly regarded Center for Conflict Resolution. There they learn in an interactive setting how to master and apply mediation skills. Once students are certified as mediators they begin mediating real cases at the Daley Center and various suburban courtrooms. These cases are referred directly from the judge’s call that day and often include contract, tort, and landlord-tenant disputes. Students routinely interact with judges, attorneys, and the parties involved in the litigation. This real-world experience allows students to have a direct impact on the cases and lives of real clients. Many students go on to use this experience in their legal practice, whether they are continuing to mediate cases or representing clients in mediation or negotiating strong settlements for their clients. 

Students also have the opportunity to assist Professor Kentra with her arbitration practice by observing arbitration hearings or researching and writing memos.  Arbitrations are conducted at the Cook County Mandatory Arbitration Center, the Better Business Bureau, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA").

Students who intern in the Tax Clinic participate in one of the country’s leading tax clinics, aggressively representing clients in a wide variety of disputes with the Internal Revenue Service. A full-service federal tax controversy and transactions practice, the Tax Clinic primarily serves middle-income individuals and small business taxpayers in connection with IRS and Illinois Department of Revenue audits, administrative appeals, asset seizures and other debt enforcement actions, and trials before the United States Tax Court, the United States District Court, and the Illinois Independent Tax Tribunal. 

Under the supervision of Professor and Clinical Education Director Jon Decatorsmith, a former IRS trial attorney and experienced federal tax litigator, students receive hands-on practice negotiating settlements with revenue agents, appeals officers, and lawyers for the IRS; drafting petitions, discovery, motions and legal memoranda in connection with pending Tax Court trials; interviewing clients and securing information from third parties in order to defend a taxpayer’s return position; preparing offers in compromise to reduce a taxpayer’s outstanding debt; and taking an assortment of intervention measures to minimize or avoid immediate hardship resulting from IRS collection actions. Students also assist the supervising attorney with providing tax and business counseling services to sole proprietorships, corporations, partnerships and tax-exempt organizations.

The only fee-charging tax controversy clinic in the United States, the Chicago-Kent Tax Clinic has developed uniquely strong relationships with the private tax bar and government representatives throughout the country. Trained in the “business” of law, many student alumni of the clinic have secured employment with the Internal Revenue Service, private boutique tax planning and dispute firms, and through launching their own specialized sole practices.

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A 12-credit, one-semester course in which students receive an enhanced, closely supervised and graded clinical experience and, in addition, satisfy their senior seminar paper requirement. Intensive Clinic has the potential to be the optimal means for law students to transition from law school to the practice of law in that it provides a natural progression from theory (doctrinal classes) to simulations to clinic to Intensive Clinic, where students engage in sophisticated lawyering activities on a full-time basis for an entire semester with a safety net in place. The program will be available for a select number of senior law students who have taken at least one semester of the clinic to which they apply. Areas of law include Employee Benefit Claims, Civil Litigation, Criminal Law, Family Law, Immigration Law and Tax Law. 

Each student enrolled in Intensive Clinic will receive 10 graded, clinical education credits and a separate grade worth two credits for writing a paper that will satisfy the senior seminar paper requirement under the close supervision of the clinical faculty member who selected the student. Intensive students will put in an average of 32 hours per week for 13 weeks. This is a total of 416 hours over the course of the semester. This does not include time put in on the seminar paper.

Students will apply to Intensive Clinic via a written submission detailing their qualifications and their reasons for seeking admission. Please direct all written submissions and questions to Tracy Kish at