Government and Legislative Clinic


The Government and Legislative Clinic (GLC) is one of the Law School's newest clinical experiences. Since its inception in 2011, students have taken advantage of a large range of internship opportunities at state, local and municipal government offices. Students earn credits toward graduation in exchange for their hours each week working side-by-side with their agency's legal counsel. Students in the clinic also meet each week for a seminar class which adds context and support to their internship assignments. Seminar discussions review statutory interpretation, legislative drafting, administrative rulemaking, administrative law and the regulatory state. Students take an active role in tracking pending legislation and monitoring current events.

The GLC provides students with the unique opportunity to observe and participate in the many facets of governmental law, policy and the legislative process. Working under the direct supervision of clinical faculty and attorneys in legislative, administrative and judicial settings, students gain first-hand experience working with government agencies on legal issues with policy significance. Students have completed externships as part of the GLC at the following agency sites: 

  • Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB)
  • Government Accountability Board (GAB)
  • Legislative Council
  • Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF)
  • Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI)
  • WI Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
  • WI Department of Public Instruction (DPI)
  • WI Department of Military Affairs (WDMA)
  • WI Department of Children and Families (DCF)
  • WI Department of Health Services (DHS)
  • WI Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)
  • WI Department of Corrections (DOC)
  • WI Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)
  • State Office of the Public Defender (SOPD)
  • Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD)



The modern regulatory state touches on nearly every aspect of our lives, including what we eat and drink, the air we breathe, the products we buy, our healthcare, employer-employee relations, business competition, financial transactions, national security, criminal law and much more.

The GLC strives to strengthen the students' understanding of administrative law and procedure, the legal rules and principles that govern the work of the "regulatory state," and add background and context to the work of a government lawyer. Throughout the semester, students scrutinize the legislative lawmaking process, the implementation of statutes by administrative agencies through rulemaking and other procedures, and the role of courts in interpreting statutes and reviewing administrative action at the behest of affected private parties.

In short, this clinic and course examines the processes, purposes, efficacy and limitations of regulation through an administrative regime, rather than criminal enforcement or private law.



The GLC requires a minimum commitment of 16 hours each week. Students work 12-16 hours per week with a government agency, participate in a weekly seminar (Friday mornings at 11:00 am) and attend one-on-one project sessions with clinic faculty. Students accepted into the clinical program typically earn 4 credits.
The clinic is open to second and third year law students during the Fall and Spring semester. Students may enroll for multiple semesters with Director approval. Students with legislative experience, interested in a specific area of law or policy, or those simply curious in the "behind the scenes" of state and federal government, are welcome to participate in this new and interactive clinic experience.  

Please contact Clinic Director Erin McBride for more information or application materials at



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