Location: Washington D.C.

Applications Due: October 20, 2017

The Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center in Washington, D.C. (“MJC”) is offering a two-credit winter term clinical opportunity for students who are interested in appellate litigation and passionate about criminal justice issues.

Students admitted to the clinic will travel to Washington, D.C. office for the winter term to work full-time on appeals before federal circuit courts and/or the U.S. Supreme Court, which raise important issues related to civil rights and the criminal justice system. 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. Students will gain exposure to the broader appellate process, which may 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 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);
  • Fundamental trial rights under the Due Process Clause, including issues unique to capital trials;
  • 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;
  • 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, who founded MJC’s Washington, D.C. office and serves as Supreme Court & Appellate Counsel. Mr. Ali will be a Lecturer at the law school during the spring term, providing opportunities to meet with students who continue the clinic during the spring semester.


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 clinical@law.harvard.edu by October 20, 2017.

Limited funding for students’ travel/accommodations in Washington, D.C. will be available through the Office of Clinical Programs. Students will be notified of their application results by October 23, 2017.  Accepted students will be required to submit an Independent Clinical Application to the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs by October 31, 2017.

Students interested in applying for funding must submit the Independent Clinical Funding Application by October 31, 2017 as well.

Filed in: Clinical Announcements

Tags: Clinical and Pro Bono Opportunities

Contact Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs