The Criminal Justice Clinic is a full-year program open to Georgetown University Law Center students who have successfully completed 41 credits, including Evidence, Civil Procedure, and Criminal Justice. The Clinic offers approximately thirty-two students an opportunity for intensive study and actual experience in criminal practice.

The premise of clinical education is that students learn best when theory is actually applied in the practice of law, and students reflect upon their performance and related issues. Students in the Criminal Justice Clinic represent defendants in misdemeanor cases in the District of Columbia Superior Court and residents of the Lorton prison in post-conviction matters. The most common charges include assault, prostitution, drug possession, theft, unlawful entry, destruction of property, shoplifting, and weapon offenses. Caseloads are light and trial work is closely supervised by Clinic professors and teaching fellows to maximize educational benefits.

Student attorneys in the Clinic are responsible for all aspects of the case. Before their term in the Clinic is finished, students will have interviewed and counseled clients, conducted extensive fact investigation, drafted and filed motions, argued motions, examined witnesses, filed sentencing memoranda and argued on behalf of their clients. The experience in the Clinic is often exhilarating, sometimes exhausting, and occasionally frustrating; it is never boring.

There are also two two-hour seminars weekly. Through readings, videotapes, discussion, role plays, and simulated trial practice exercises, the classes focus on topics such as the role and professional obligations of a criminal defense attorney; ethical issues and broader systemic issues; client representation skills, such as interviewing, counseling, negotiation, and investigation; trial skills such as opening statements, closing arguments, and witness examinations; and mastery of the law of evidence and criminal procedure essential to superior representation.

The Clinic’s Mission:

The Criminal Justice Clinic, one of the eighteen clinics at Georgetown University Law Center, seeks to provide legal representation to defendants charged with committing misdemeanors and a rich experiential and classroom learning program for law students.