Duquesne University School of Law's clinical program expand

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With its move from a crowded college classroom facility to a three-story, standalone building fronting Fifth Avenue across from the Consol Energy Center, Duquesne University School of Law's clinical program hopes to provide easier access and expanded services to individuals in need of legal assistance.

The law school Tuesday announced a $500,000 grant that will be used to renovate an existing structure at 914 Fifth Ave., in the city's Uptown neighborhood. Total costs to buy and refurbish the building and to develop a new law clinic there are estimated at $1.2 million, said Ken Gormley, law school dean.

The latest round of funding came from the state's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, which is allocated by the state's Office of the Budget. The school in November received a $250,000 grant from the Allegheny County Redevelopment Authority that will be used to buy furniture and equipment for the clinic.

Target date for opening the clinic at the new site is August, before the fall semester begins, said Laurie Serafino, director of clinical education and associate professor of criminal procedure.

Duquesne's law clinic is currently located in Fisher Hall on the school's campus.

After Ms. Serafino arrived at Duquesne last year from Pepperdine University in Southern California -- where she directed the law school clinic -- she said she put up signs in Fisher Hall directing clients to the clinic because it was difficult to find amidst a maze of hallways and stairwells.

At the new site, which will double the size of the existing clinic, plans call for the first floor to house client interview rooms; the second floor to house classrooms and a mock courtroom; and the third floor to be offices for clinic staff.

The clinic provides legal services to low-income and unemployed individuals, veterans, federal inmates and communities that need assistance in development and enterprise issues.

Intellectual property law services could be added this fall, said Ms. Serafino.

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Joyce Gannon: jgannon@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1580.


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