Clinical Course for J.D. Students
A. Time Commitment
The Clinic is demanding and time consuming. Students are required to return to school one week before classes begin to participate in an intensive orientation program. This year the orientation will begin on Monday, August 27, 2012. Participation in the orientation is a requirement of the clinic and no exceptions will be made. This intensive orientation gives students the opportunity to become immersed in making the transition from students to lawyers without the distraction of other responsibilities. After the orientation, the Clinic meets for class twice each week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Based on the number of credits they receive, students can expect to work an average of approximately 25 hours per week on clinic and casework, although the actual hours vary considerably depending on the scheduling of trials and hearings. Our students generally find that there is a greater overall time commitment in the clinic during the fall semester than the spring semester, as they are devoting more time to learning the essentials of litigating a case for the first time. (For this reason, the credits allocated to the clinic are 9 for the fall semester and 5 for the spring semester.) Because our clients’ freedom is at stake in each case, we expect that clinic work will take precedence over most other activities in a student’s life when necessary. Students are encouraged to arrange their schedules so that one day each week (preferably a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday) is completely free from class or employment responsibilities. All students are responsible for cases over class breaks and finals, but we can usually schedule around these times. We expect that students will be responsible for their cases through graduation.
B. Conflicts of Interest
A rigid federal conflict of interest statute precludes students who are employed by the Federal Government from participating in the Clinic, because the United States is the prosecuting authority in the District of Columbia.
To be a competent attorney, a student must learn how to conduct fact investigation and must investigate each case thoroughly. Sarah Young , our experienced staff investigator, will train students in investigation, interviewing, and statement-taking. Included in the training are techniques and procedures for minimizing danger. Students work in pairs and follow established guidelines designed to ensure safety. However, given the nature of our work and the urban location of our crime scenes, investigating cases involves some minimal risks. We believe that investigating our cases is safe, and all of our supervisors regularly go into the field to investigate their own cases. Nevertheless, if you are reluctant to take on the responsibility of investigating your cases, you should not enroll in this clinic.
The CJC will have an open house in the clinic suite in room McD 123 on March 23, 2012 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. This open house will give students the opportunity to meet the faculty and supervisors and ask any questions which they might have. Attendance at the open house is optional.