Beyond the classroom. Above the call of duty.
The OCU Law experience goes far beyond the classroom. The school’s specialized centers let you explore a wide range of interests while honing your legal research and writing skills. Get real-world experience providing pro bono services to underserved communities. Contribute to the evolution of state laws and constitutions. Put your mind to work shaping Homeland Security policy. The need is great. The possibilities are endless.
American Indian Law and Sovereignty Center
Providing Needed Legal Services in Tribal Communities
Oklahoma City University School of Law consistently ranks in the top three law schools in the country for American Indian and Alaska Native enrollment. Oklahoma City has the 4th highest Native American population of any city in the United States. Home to 38 federally recognized tribes, Oklahoma is in the heart of Indian Country.
We offer a curriculum and programming to prepare future lawyers for the practice of law in tribal communities. From doctrinal courses to clinics and externships, our Indian law program is designed to make you a well-rounded practitioner, ready to tackle the complex legal challenges in Indian Country.
Through our American Indian Law & Sovereignty Center, law students, faculty, and staff at Oklahoma City University School of Law provide needed services in tribal communities, including legal services, through our clinics and externships and training to lawyers and judges on Indian law topics.
“Our commitment to working in tribal communities ensures that our law students gain experience applying what is taught in the classroom to benefit the Indian legal landscape.”
Pro Bono Housing Eviction Legal Assistance Program (HELP)
A staggering 200 families face eviction in Oklahoma County every week. Many of these families have limited knowledge of their rights as tenants and many do not have access to an attorney before reaching Oklahoma County’s Forcible Entry and Detainer docket. OCU Law has received a generous grant from the Oklahoma Bar Foundation to create HELP.
HELP was created to provide assistance to those facing eviction by informing them about their procedural and substantive rights, and we hope, detouring them from facing the consequences of eviction.
The program is directed by Richard M. Klinge. OCU Law students who have a community-driven work ethic are recruited to help these families while gaining experience with basic legal skills.
As rent throughout the country continues to rise, so will the number of families needing this assistance. HELP’s goal is to alleviate some of the stress families face in troubled times.
Judge Alfred P. Murrah Center for Homeland Security Law & Policy
The Judge Alfred P. Murrah Center for Homeland Security Law & Policy at Oklahoma City University School of Law examines the unique legal issues central to protecting and securing our nation, with a focus on the prevention of domestic terrorism.
In partnership with the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, the Murrah Center provides legal analysis, insight, and support on matters of domestic security and counterterrorism faced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and explores ways to combat extremism and radicalism at its root.
The aftermath of April 19th brought to the legal forefront a need for further exploration of homeland security law and policy. Some of the areas requiring focus include:
- Homeland & National Security
- Electronic Surveillance & Privacy
- Disaster & Crisis Management
- Continuity of Government
- Immigration Policy & Practice
- Law on the Domestic Use of the Armed Forces
- Intelligence Law & Operations
With Oklahoma City University School of Law’s history of producing leaders in the field of homeland security law and policy, as well as our community’s connection to the tragic bombing and tireless efforts to rebuild in its aftermath, the Murrah Center is uniquely positioned to help a nation and members of the private sector prepare for and prevent such emergencies on the home front.
Center for the Study of State Constitutional Law & Government
The Center for the Study of State Constitutional Law and Government was founded to develop and implement programs dedicated to the improvement of state constitutions and state governance. By sponsoring workshops, scholarly writing, and public lectures, the Center promotes scholarship and discussion on important issues relating to state government.
The Center sponsors one of the School of Law’s most important annual academic events, the Brennan Lecture in State Constitutional Law. Named in honor of the late Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., the Brennan Lecture has brought several of the most prominent and thoughtful scholars in the nation to the School of Law and the Oklahoma City community. Previously, Randy E. Barnett, the Austin B. Fletcher Professor at the Boston University School of Law, has spoken. Professor Barnett is one of the nation’s leading public law scholars and the author of important books on constitutional law, contract law, and jurisprudence.
The Center also hosts a series on state and local government. The series will feature a monthly lecture by a prominent figure in Oklahoma’s state and local governments. The purpose of the series is to introduce students to the opportunities and challenges of public service. The series features lectures by Governor Mary Fallin, former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, Oklahoma County District Attorney Wes Lane, and Oklahoma Secretary of Energy David Fleischaker.
The Center designed and administers the Certificate in Public Law, which recognizes students who excel in public law courses, write a publishable paper in public law, and either write an additional paper or complete an externship in government.
The Center and the School of Law offer a Government Law Externship program that provides extensive opportunities for students to gain practical experience in the practice of public law. Placement opportunities are available, for example, in the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Professor Michael Mitchelson is the Director of Externship Programs at the School of Law.
Center for Criminal Justice
The Center for Criminal Justice at Oklahoma City University School of Law represents a unique partnership among the Oklahoma City University Law School, the Oklahoma County Public Defender’s Office, and the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council. The Center for Criminal Justice is more than just a vision, it represents a commitment to advancing criminal justice reform in the State of Oklahoma and offers support to all advocates of criminal justice reform.
The Center for Criminal Justice provides an institutional home for comprehensive criminal justice reform at Oklahoma City University School of Law and will create a permanent and lasting environment to promote criminal justice reform in Oklahoma County, the State of Oklahoma, and nationally.
The Center for Criminal Justice also provides an experiential learning opportunity for law students who participate in its Bail and Bond Reform Clinic. Students in the clinic visit the jail, interview detainees, and identify candidates for pre-trial release. Students participate in the arraignment process where bail is determined, assess service needs of clients, file motions for clients to receive bail hearings, and advocate for those clients in the district court and through appeal, if necessary. Students in the Bail and Bond Reform Clinic assist individuals facing criminal misdemeanor charges and those at risk as a result of probation compliance issues by connecting them to services, working with prosecutors to develop plans for probation success, filing the appropriate motions with the court, and appearing in court to advocate for the reduction of fees and costs. This type of experiential learning forever changes the course of a defendant’s life and also provides students with practical lawyering experience.
The vision and hope for the Center for Criminal Justice is that it will provide on-going support for criminal justice education, advocacy, and action. As students explore alternatives to pre-trial detention, they will learn to proactively reinforce the presumption of innocence as a fundamental cornerstone of the criminal justice system. The Oklahoma City University School of Law and the Center for Criminal Justice remain thankful to its many generous donors, including the E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation.