Criminal Justice Clinic – 7551
The Criminal Justice Clinic is a year-long clinic in which students will have the unique opportunity to prosecute criminal cases during the fall semester and serve as a criminal defense attorney during the spring semester. As a student in the Criminal Justice Clinic, you will have a challenging and rewarding experience working as a student-attorney practicing law in courts throughout the metro area. Through your classroom and courtroom work, you will develop the fundamental litigation and legal skills that will serve you well as you embark on your career as a practicing attorney. You also will be challenged to think critically and creatively about the criminal justice system, the role of prosecutors and defense attorneys, legal ethics, and criminal law and procedure.
During the fall semester, students will participate in the Prosecution Clinic Course, which will involve a combination of classroom work and supervised student prosecution of individuals charged with petty misdemeanor, misdemeanor, and gross misdemeanor offenses in Hennepin, Ramsey, and Anoka County District Courts. Students will handle cases at all stages of the criminal process, including arraignments, pre-trial conferences, and court trials. There also will be a weekly two-hour seminar component that will include lectures on substantive criminal law and procedure, criminal justice policy issues, simulation exercises, role playing, skills training exercises, and self-evaluation.
In the spring semester, students will participate in the Defense Clinic Course, which will provide students with the skills and legal knowledge to effectively, zealously, and ethically represent a client charged with a criminal offense. Similar to the Prosecution clinic, the course will involve a combination of classroom work and supervised student representation of clients charged with misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor offenses in Hennepin County District Court. Student attorneys will be involved in representing clients at all stages of the criminal process, including arraignments, pretrial conferences, and trials. There also will be a weekly two-hour seminar component devoted to misdemeanor laws and procedure, trial and advocacy skills, evidence, policy issues in the criminal justice system, and case strategy discussions.
To ensure that you have a fulfilling experience in this Clinic, students must be willing to make a substantial time commitment that goes beyond the classroom work. This will require students to arrange their class schedules in a way that allows students to appear in court, conduct investigations, and meet with clients. In particular, you should arrange your class schedule so you have at least one morning available each week to appear in court. Also, students enrolling in this Clinic must have successfully completed an Evidence course or they must be enrolled in Evidence during the fall semester. Students are further encouraged to enroll in Trial Practice and/or Criminal Procedure.