The Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic (CDPAC) offers students an intensive experience in indigent criminal defense and prisoner advocacy. Through client representation, classroom lectures and discussion, simulations and exercises, small group "case rounds," and individual supervision meetings, students will obtain a rich understanding of the culture and ethics of indigent criminal defense, and develop expertise in criminal trial advocacy and the representation of prisoners.

For more information about the Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic, visit the CDPAC website.

Clinic Logistics
Duration:Year long
No. of Participants:
14 students/year
Open to:
Avg. Time Commitment:
25 hrs/week

Client Work

Students in the Clinic represent indigent defendants facing trial in misdemeanor cases in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia and those convicted of crime in parole and probation hearings. Caseloads are flexible and attuned more to the quality of cases than to quantity, but the expectation is that students will maintain a caseload of at least two cases and a special ongoing "prisoner advocacy project" at any given time. Students are appointed to cases in the Superior Court at preliminary arraignment. The most common pretrial charges include assault, threats, drug possession, theft, unlawful entry, destruction of property, and minor weapons offenses. Students "first chair" these cases (act as lead counsel), supervised by Clinic faculty and fellows. Students in the Clinic also represent clients in parole revocation hearings before the U.S. Parole Commission. Parole cases, which include serious felonies, are assigned by the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) and supervised by attorneys in the agency's Parole Division. Students first chair these cases as well. Students also act as lead counsel in representing misdemeanor clients in probation violation ("show cause") hearings in the Superior Court under the supervision of Clinic faculty and fellows.

Clinic students are expected to take on an additional project to enrich and broaden their clinical experience, and to help fill a need in the community. The projects include: working on a parole, clemency, or pardon application for a long-serving prisoner;working with a recently released prisoner on re-entry issues;and creating a student-run legal or educational project for prisoners.

Contact Us

Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic
Georgetown Law
600 New Jersey Avenue NW
Suite 130
Washington, DC 20001

Phone: (202) 662-9575

On The Web

Maps & Directions

Google Location Map Georgetown University Law Center 600 New Jersey Avenue NW Washington, DC 20001