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Criminal Defense Clinic: Clinical Practice

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 workshop sessions. These 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. Special Instructions: General Structure of Clinical Courses - - The Law School's clinical courses are offered on a full-time basis for 12 credits. This allows students to immerse themselves in the professional experience without the need to balance clinical projects with other classes, exams and papers. Students enrolled in a clinic are not permitted to enroll in any other classes, seminars, directed research or other credit-yielding activities within the Law School or University during the quarter in which they are enrolled in a clinic. Nor are they allowed to serve as teaching assistants who are expected to attend a class on a regular basis. There is a limited exception for joint degree students who are required to take specific courses each quarter and who would be foreclosed from ever taking a clinic unless allowed to co-register. These exceptions are approved on a case-by-case basis. Clinic students are expected to work in their clinical office during most business hours Monday through Friday. Students are also expected to be available by e-mail or cell phone when elsewhere during those hours. Because students have no other courses (and hence no exams or papers), the clinical quarter begins the first day of classes and runs through the final day of the examination period. Students should not plan personal travel during the Monday to Friday work week without prior authorization from the clinical supervisor. The work during a typical week in a clinic is divided into three components. First, as they are for practicing attorneys, most of the hours of any week are taken up by work on client matters or case work (this time includes meetings with instructors to discuss the work). Again, as is the case for practicing lawyers, in some weeks these responsibilities demand time above and beyond "normal business hours." Second, students will spend approximately five-to-seven hours per week preparing for and participating in weekly discussions or other group work in their individual clinic (scheduling varies by clinic). Third, over the course of the quarter each clinic student (with the exception of those enrolled in the Criminal Prosecution Clinic) is required to prepare for and attend approximately five inter-clinic group sessions. Students will be awarded three separate grades for their clinical quarter, each reflecting four credits. The three grades are broken into the following categories: clinical practice; clinical methods; and clinical coursework. Grading is pursuant to the H/P system. Enrollment in a clinic is binding; once selected into a clinic to which he or she has applied, a student may not later drop the course except in limited and exceptional cases. Requests for withdrawal are processed through the formal petition and clinical faculty review process described in the clinic policy document posted on the SLS website. Students may not enroll in any clinic (full-time or advanced) which would result in them earning more than 27 clinical credits during their law school career. The rules described here do not apply to advanced clinics for students who are continuing with a clinic in which they were previously enrolled. For information about advanced clinics, please see the course descriptions for those courses. For more information about clinic enrollment and operations, please see the clinic policy document posted on the SLS website. Elements used in grading: Class participation, attendance, written assignments and case work and professionalism.

2015-2016 Winter
01/04/2016 - 03/07/2016
Notes: Professional Skills Requirement for Law Degree. Professional Writing Requirement for Law Degree.
2015-2016 Spring
03/28/2016 - 05/27/2016
Notes: Professional Skills Requirement for Law Degree. Professional Writing Requirement for Law Degree.

Instructors for this course (Past and Present)

Lawrence C. Marshall
Galia Phillips
Ronald C. Tyler
Galit Lipa
Suzanne A. Luban