The majority of your time in the clinic will be devoted to casework—screening prisoners’ applications for assistance, reviewing trial transcripts and casefiles, visiting potential clients at prisons throughout the state, interviewing witnesses, collecting records, consulting subject matter experts, conducting legal research and drafting pleadings.
You will be assigned preliminary cases for factual development and evaluation, presenting your findings to the group to determine whether or not the clinic should accept the case. You will also work in teams with clinical faculty and other students on developed cases with continuing investigation or ongoing litigation.
In addition to casework, you will participate in a weekly classroom component which combines skills training, case discussions, guest speakers and field trips. You will learn to recognize the common causes of wrongful convictions, brainstorm investigative strategies, hear from exonerees and practitioners in the larger innocence community, develop presentation and advocacy skills, and gain a better understanding of the stakeholders in the criminal justice system.
Each of the two semesters, you can elect to take the course for between two and four credits. All students will take part in the weekly classroom component, however the number of required hours of casework will vary with the number of elected credits.
The Wrongful Conviction Clinic is a graded course. There is no final exam. Grades will be based on measures including class participation, completion of required casework hours, periodic written assignments, handling of client cases and time management.
You must apply and be accepted in order to enroll in the clinic. To apply, complete and submit the Clinic Registration Form distributed by the Registrar’s office during the registration period in the spring. All students who select the Wrongful Conviction Clinic on their registration form will be prompted to submit a resume and brief letter of interest to the clinic director. If you are selected to participate in the clinic, you will be notified before the close of the registration period.