Academic Programs

Clinic Fieldwork Option

In the clinic fieldwork option of American Legislative Practice, students apply what they learn in class on several client driven projects. Clients include legislators, state executive offices, nonprofit organizations, and advocacy groups. Students assume the role of a legislative counsel to the client and produce work product that may be used to advance the client's bill or project.

Asisgnments may include:

  • Researching public policy and related legal issues
  • Drafting and revising legislation
  • Formulating a strategy to guide bills through the legislative process
  • Working to build a coalition to support or defeat a bill
  • Advocating for or against a bill or issue with legislators
  • Testifying at committee hearings
  • Compiling and archiving legislative histories
  • Developing strategies for building coalitions
Students Advancing Bill

 

Gun Control, Corporate Taxes, Mental Health, Access to College

Students in the past have worked on the following projects with the various committees of the Massachusetts General Court:   

  • Reform the Criminal Offender Record Index (CORI) System;
  • Improve mental health care for children;
  • Reform the way state transportation projects are financed;
  • Improve access to the Commonwealth’s community college system;     
  • Reform the Small Claims Court;           
  • Updating the animal control laws;  
  • Provide greater protection to the Commonwealth’s waterways;
  • Improve the Child In Need of Services (CHINS) Statute.

In addition, the Clinic conducts oversight projects to review whether existing statutes and government programs are functioning as intended.  For example, Clinic students have assisted the Governor’s Commission on Corporate Taxation in reviewing the state’s corporate tax laws, and have reviewed the Gun Control Act of 1998 on behalf of the Joint Committee on Public Safety.

Finally, the Clinic students work on the Legislative History Project. As an ongoing project of the clinic, students gather, organize and put into context documentation related to recent substantive changes to the General Laws. This documentation includes testimony submitted to the relevant committees, speeches given on the floors of the Senate and House, and committee reports. These sources will then be posted on the web as a resource for anyone trying to understand or interpret Massachusetts statutes.

For more information contact Sean J. Kealy.