The OPIA Blog

Law clinics coming under fire

Law clinics across the country are coming under fire for what is perceived as an over extension of their role. The state of Maryland is debating a bill that includes a measure that would cut money from its clinic if it doesn’t provide sufficient information on its funding and practices. Although this specific legislation is being taken up in Maryland, other states such as Louisiana and Michigan are also tackling the issue. Louisiana, in fact, has already created rules restricting state-funded law school clinics.

At the heart of the issue is special interests and taxation. The clinic in Maryland is filing suit against Perdue and two of its contracted farmers for its environmental impact on the Pocomoke River. Perdue is not outright lobbying against the suit, but according to Jim Perdue (Chairman of Perdue), these types of suits represented “one of the largest threats to the family farm in the last 50 years.”

The issue over taxation has to do with how these clinics, if they are a part of publicly funded universities or receive tax breaks as non-profit entities, are using taxpayer dollars despite being “unaccountable” or “counterproductive to states’ interests.”

Click here to read the full NY Times article.