Text of SB-549 - Law Clinics Bill

Here's text of the bill proposed by a member of the Louisiana Legislature that would limit the activity of law clinics and host universities that accept state funding.

Interestingly, the text does not bar law clinics from functioning - it merely shapes and designates a more limited role for clinics hosted by schools that receive state funding by specifying the types of matters they may handle.  Where state funding of the representation is involved, I can see that as a legitimate approach.

Straying outside of those bounds, though, is grounds for the host university to lose all state funding: "C. (1) A violation of this Section shall result in the forfeiture of all state funding to the university for that fiscal year."   That's a blunderbuss approach that, as I noted earlier hypothetically (when the news story inaccurately said the bill targeted law clinics that received state money), doesn't make me comfortable with the bill.  

Critically, the bill doesn't allow a clinic to bulkhead itself off by obtaining private non-state funding.  This is the language employed throughout: "law school clinics of universities receiving state funds." The bill attacks the parent to get at the child. I don't think it's fair to penalize the entire university's receipt of state funding because a potentially privately funded law clinic operating within the school is taking legal action.  There aren't enough state dollar strings attached to the actual activity being regulated for the state to get that much leverage.

The language also includes this part about a violation:

(2) It shall also be grounds for recusal of the student acting as an attorney, faculty attorney, or the legal clinic in a court proceeding.

Recusal in the violative matter only? It says in "a court proceeding." Also, how would a student be acting as a faculty attorney?