Clinical Course for J.D. Students
Students are required to return to school one week earlier than other students to participate in an intensive orientation program. Participation in Orientation is a requirement of the Clinic, and no exceptions will be made. Orientation gives students the opportunity to become immersed in making the transition from students to lawyers without the usual distractions.
The Clinic is demanding and time consuming. As indicated, students are required to return to school a week early for Orientation, with reading assignments prepared over the summer. Although the Clinic requires a substantial time commitment, the consensus of students has been that anyone with good time management skills can successfully combine the Clinic and part-time employment. Our students generally find that there is a greater overall time commitment in the clinic during the fall semester than in the spring, as they are devoting more time to learning the essentials of criminal defense and prisoner advocacy 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.) Students are encouraged to arrange their schedules so that one day each week (preferably a Monday, Wednesday, 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.
Conflicts of Interest
A strict federal conflict of interest statute precludes students who are employed by the Federal Government fromparticipating in the Clinic, because the United States is the prosecuting authority in the District of Columbia.
To be a competent attorney, it is essential to learn how to conduct fact investigation. Sarah Young, our experienced staff investigator, will train students in the fundamentals of investigation, including interviewing witnesses and taking statements. Included in the training are techniques and procedures for minimizing danger. Students investigate in pairs and follow established guidelines designed to ensure safety. However, given the nature of the work and the location of urban crime scenes, investigation carries some risks. We believe that overall, investigation is safe, and supervisors regularly go into the field to investigate their own cases. If, however, you are reluctant to take on the responsibility of investigating your cases, you should not enroll in this clinic.
On March 15, 2012 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm. the CDPAC will have an open house in room 141. The 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.