Criminal Defense Clinic: Clinical Coursework
Students in the Criminal Defense Clinic will represent indigent criminal defendants in a wide range of misdemeanor cases in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Students will be California Bar Certified and thus will be bound by the rules and ethics of the profession, notably zealous advocacy on behalf of clients. Students will take the lead role in all aspects of case development, including interviewing clients and witnesses, investigating facts, developing case strategy, negotiating with the prosecutor, drafting and arguing motions, and trying cases before judges and juries. Common charges include drug possession, public order offenses, assault, theft, and weapons possession. While students will have primary responsibility for all aspects of their cases, all trial work will be closely supervised. In addition to casework, there will be weekly seminar sessions. The classes will focus both on case-rounds and on broader systemic issues. The goal of the clinic is to train students how to try a criminal case from beginning to end while engaging in thoughtful reflection on the role of the criminal defense attorney in the criminal justice system. While the work is often challenging and sometimes heartbreaking, it offers students a unique opportunity to put their skills, intellect and compassion to use by serving people in a moment of great need. The Law School's clinical courses is being offered on a full-time basis for 12 credits. Students enrolled in a clinic are not permitted to enroll in any other classes, seminars, directed research or other credit-yielding activities during the quarter in which they are enrolled in a clinic. Students may not enroll in any clinic (basic or advanced) which would result in them earning more than 27 clinical credits during their law school career.