Starting with next fall's incoming crop, University of Connecticut Law School students must now gain hands-on experience to graduate.
UConn announced Thursday adoption of the "practice-based learning" requirement, effective with the fall 2013 incoming class.
This will ensure, the state's flagship university said, that all students have at least one intensive, carefully supervised, live lawyering experience before graduating from law school.
UConn's faculty voted the requirement in early November, making it only one of fewer than 20 other U.S. law schools with a similar requirement.
Students will be able to satisfy the new requirement in several ways.
First, they can enroll in any of the UConn Law School's 15 faculty-supervised clinical programs. These include, among others: an Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic that is part of a state economic development initiative; an Asylum and Human Rights Clinic that helps refugees from torture and persecution gain political asylum; and a Mediation Clinic that helps resolve disputes between landlords and tenants as well as other matters.
Clinical programs also include externship clinics in which students are placed with non-profit public interest organizations, state agencies, judges, and legislators.
A second is through an individual externship, working at least 14 hours per week in the placement and participate in an accompanying seminar.
A third will be to enroll in a course that includes a substantial component in which students participate in teams or as a group in one or more live lawyering projects.