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Student Work

Student Work

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.

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 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).

How to Register

How to Register

The Criminal Justice Appellate Clinic is offered in the Winter semester. Please visit the course catalog for more information about the application process. You can learn about the required clinical course component, clinical credits, additional requirements, and the clinical registration process, by reading the course catalog description and exploring the links in this section.

Application Deadline:
October 25, 2019

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Faculty and Staff


Maggie Bay
Office of Clinical and
Pro Bono Programs
Harvard Law School, WCC
6 Everett Street, Suite 3085
Cambridge, MA 02138