Criminal Justice Appellate Clinic

Criminal Justice Appellate Clinic

Mr. Amir Ali
Winter 2019 clinic
2 clinical credits

Students who enroll in this offering may count the credits towards the JD experiential learning requirement.

Enrollment in this clinic will fulfill the HLS JD pro bono requirement.

Required Class Component: Criminal Justice Appellate Clinical Seminar (1 winter classroom credit). This clinic and course are bundled; your enrollment in this clinic will automatically enroll you in the required course.
Additional Co-/Pre-Requisites: None.
By Permission: Yes. Applications are due October 30, 2018.
Add/Drop Deadline: November 30, 2018.
LLM Students: International students on F-1 student visas are required to have Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization; LL.M. students are not eligible for CPT.
Placement Site: Washington D.C.

This winter-term clinic is taken concurrently with the Criminal Justice Appellate Clinical Seminar. Both the class and clinic will take place in Washington, D.C.

Students will participate in an externship with the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center (“MJC”) in Washington, D.C., working on appeals before federal circuit courts and/or the U.S. Supreme Court that raise important issues related to civil rights and the criminal justice system.

Students will learn the ins-and-outs of litigating appeals in the field criminal justice, including general appellate strategy and skills, and emerging issues in the criminal justice system. Under the supervision of the director of MJC’s D.C. Office, students will have the opportunity to make a substantial contribution to the office’s ongoing appellate cases, including performing research and draft legal analysis for briefs that will be filed in federal court. Depending on the particular matters students work on, this may also include participation in client interaction and strategic decision-making, analysis of factual records, and participation in moot oral arguments (depending upon the stage of their assigned appeals). Students will also have the option of continuing the clinic remotely in the spring semester, allowing more substantial involvement in their assigned appeals and increased exposure to appellate litigation.

MJC is one of the nation’s premier civil rights organizations and champions criminal justice reform through litigation, in areas that include police misconduct, rights of the accused, issues facing indigent prisoners, the death penalty, and the rights of detainees. The organization’s Washington, D.C. office focuses specifically on appellate litigation as a vehicle for achieving change in these areas.

Examples of issues raised in MJC appeals include:

  • Unsettled questions of criminal procedure under the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments (search & seizure, privilege against self-incrimination, right to a jury, right to counsel);
  • Issues facing indigent prisoners, including the constitutional rights of prisoners to be free from cruel and unusual treatment by prison officials and access to courts;
  • Constitutional challenges to the use of solitary confinement in the prison system;
  • Fundamental trial rights under the Due Process Clause, including issues unique to capital trials;
  • Challenges to certain discriminatory executive actions outside of the criminal justice system, including discriminatory practices of Immigrations and Custom Enforcement and discrimination against Muslim travelers at the border.

Students admitted to the clinic will be supervised by Amir H. Ali, founder of MJC’s Washington, D.C. office, who serves as the organization’s Supreme Court & Appellate Counsel.

Students interested in this clinic should submit a resume, an unedited writing sample, and a statement of interest (less than 300 words) that includes: (i) the student’s reason for applying to the clinic, including particular criminal justice issues the student is interested in; (ii) any prior exposure to appellate and/or criminal justice issues; (iii) whether the student would be interested in continuing the clinic during the Spring semester. Applications should be submitted to by October 30, 2018. Limited funding for students’ travel/accommodations in Washington, D.C. will be available through the Office of Clinical Programs.