The following programs and activities are illustrative of the many ways in which the School of Law serves its urban mission.
Child and Family Services Clinic
The UMKC Child and Family Services Clinic provides legal services and representation in cases involving children under the jurisdiction of the juvenile division of the Jackson County Family court. The clinic students ordinarily represent those adults seeking to give these children a permanent, safe home: family members seeking permanent guardianship, a father seeking paternity, or an adoptive family. In some instances, the clinic students will represent juveniles themselves in delinquency cases or may act as guardians ad litem on behalf of children in a variety of cases. Working under the supervision of the clinical professor, law students investigate, research and advocate legal positions necessary to ensure safe, stable family structures for children.
Inns of UMKC
The Inns of UMKC are part of a two-tier approach by the School of Law to address our students’ need for additional advice and assistance from the faculty and members of the local bar and judiciary. The program stems from an understanding that students benefit from consultation regarding matters such as the stress of law school, professionalism, the challenges presented by a career in the practice of law, course selections, bar exam preparation, summer clerkships and post-graduation employment (including judicial clerkships). Each Inn is run independently through the collaboration of one prominent member of the local bar, one member of the local judiciary and two faculty members. The grouping of students in the Inns directly corresponds to the Introduction to Law workshops and faculty members also serve as the students’ advisers. The goal of the Inns of UMKC program is that these Inns will grow to serve a vital role in the education and training of future community lawyers and leaders, comparable to the roles played by the old English Inns of Court.
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
The School of Law enjoys a close relationship with the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association. Each year, the Young Lawyers Section of the Association presents a number of educational programs of interest to law students, helping them bridge the gap between theory and practice. In addition, it hosts a beginning-of-the year picnic at which students meet area lawyers and judges, and presents an end-of-the year bar examination information session. As a result of such activities, UMKC law students have access to excellent programs, make important contacts and enjoy the collegiality of an association dedicated to the highest standards of professional integrity and skill.
Kansas City Tax Clinic
The Kansas City Tax Clinic is a project of the UMKC Graduate Tax Law Foundation, with support from the UMKC School of Law. Planning for the clinic, which is housed in the law building, started back in 1996, with many faculty, staff, alumni and tax practitioners making contributions and giving generously of their time and effort to make the Kansas City Tax Clinic a reality.
The Kansas City Tax Clinic began serving clients in the fall of 1999. UMKC School of Law students in the LL.M. in Taxation program, the combined J.D./LL.M. in Taxation program, or other students with the permission of the director of the tax program, represent clients of limited means in tax controversy matters under the supervision of the director and volunteer tax practitioners. The clinic has been awarded Internal Revenue Service grants to assist low-income taxpayers with appeals.
Pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 13, a student who has completed legal studies amounting to one-half of the credits required for graduation and who is in good standing and of good character, fitness and moral qualification to practice law may appear in courts or before administrative tribunals in Missouri on behalf of an indigent person, if accompanied by a supervising attorney. The student may perform other legal work, such as preparation of pleadings and briefs on behalf of an indigent, so long as the work is done under the guidance of an attorney. An eligible student also may appear in any matter on behalf of the state with the written approval of a supervising lawyer. Similar opportunities for student practice are available under Kansas Supreme Court Rule 709. Additionally, similar skills experience is possible in the Federal Government.
Midwestern Innocence Project
The Midwestern Innocence Project provides pro bono investigative and legal assistance to prisoners with persuasive actual innocence claims. Students learn legal and investigative strategies through Wrongful Convictions and the Innocence Project Clinic. In Wrongful Convictions, students learn the causes of wrongful convictions and the ways to raise successful innocence claims in both state and federal courts. The Innocence Project Clinic provides students hands on work with cases receiving transcripts, state records, and case documents in addition to the briefs and opinion in the case. Students report on the likelihood that an inmate is innocent and the strategies available for pursuing the claim of innocence.
Public Interest Litigation Clinic
The PILC is an independent non-profit legal services organization that represents innocent prisoners and prisoners facing the death penalty across the United States. The Clinic’s cases include all stages of criminal litigation, including trial, appeal, post-conviction, habeas corpus, certiorari and executive clemency proceedings. The School's Death Penalty Clinic and the "Problems and Issues in the Death Penalty" course are taught in conjunction with the PILC, and the center's staff provides valuable opportunities for the students in those classes.
UMKC Entrepreneurial Legal Services Clinic
Initially funded by the KauffmanCenter for Entrepreneurial Leadership, students participating in the UMKC Entrepreneurial Legal Services Clinic, working under the supervision of licensed attorneys, assist a wide variety of owners of new and existing small businesses who do not have, or cannot afford, the market price for professional assistance. Each Fall and Spring semester, up to 15 students who have taken certain courses (Business Organizations and Federal Taxation are required, and Business Planning or other business or tax law education or experience preferred) are selected for enrollment in the clinic.
The clinic is located in the UMKC Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation building, at 4747 Troost. Students gain "hands-on" practical experience, under the supervision of experienced faculty who are licensed attorneys, by creating clients' business entities (such as limited liability companies and corporations) and drafting documents such as operating and partnership agreements, employment contracts and non-competition contracts. Students may enroll in the clinic in the fall or spring semesters.