Since its inception, Appalachian School of Law has distinguished itself from other law schools by providing students with rich and practical legal experience well before graduation. Learn more about our experiential learning opportunities below.

Externship Program

Through this program students engage in activities such as observation of court proceedings, clerking for judges and justices, conducting legal research, interviewing clients, and assisting with trial strategy.

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Medical-Legal Partnership

Appalachian School of Law has partnered with Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business and Ballad Health to address the legal needs of low-income healthcare patients and alleviate medical issues that are attributable to or exacerbated by unmet legal needs. Through a strategic collaboration, medical, legal, and business professionals combine their expertise to provide a holistic response to address socio-economic needs that influence health.  MLPs across the nation have demonstrated promising results.

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Buchanan County Legal Clinic

In collaboration with ASL’s local bar association, ASL created an on-campus clinic that assists local clients in need of legal aid. This is an accessible option for students seeking to further enhance their experiential learning opportunities. In the clinic setting, students can participate in activities related to law office management. 

In addition to having the initial contact with individuals seeking legal assistance, students complete the intake for the individuals, then observe and participate in meetings with licensed attorneys to address the legal needs of the individuals. The clinic is student-driven but is facilitated by our Clinic Director, a member of ASL’s faculty who works in partnership with other ASL faculty members and pro bono attorneys at the clinic – all of whom instruct and mentor the students in relevant areas of the law.

Community Service

ASL’s mission is to develop professionals who will serve as community leaders and advocates. Our school provides a unique program of community service that students may complete in a variety of ways. As a requirement for graduation, each student must complete 25 hours of community service each semester. During their first semester in law school, students satisfy this requirement by taking the mandatory Introduction to Community Service class, which meets once per week throughout the fall semester. 

Here are some ways ASL students have fulfilled their hours:

  • Volunteered with the Buchanan County Commonwealth’s Attorney
  • Tutored and mentored in the public school system
  • Assisted Buchanan County by providing property research for the Great Eastern Trail and Spearhead Trail project
  • Assisted the Buchanan County Humane Society 
  • Worked at a food bank
  • Created personnel policies and a pay plan for a small town
  • Coached a high school athletic team or other clubs
  • Worked at a local nursing home 
  • Worked as child advocates in the court system

Students and faculty may create alternative service projects, as well.

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Upper-level Practicum Opportunities

Practicum courses are designed to give students practical, skills-based training. These courses combine skills training with additional instruction in a particular substantive area of the law. The practicum offerings vary from year to year and enrollment in each course is limited.