Prosecution Clinic (YR)

Section 1, Fall 21

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 15/16
Credits: 4
Day Time Room Start Date End Date
  • T
  • 1900-2130
  • WB104
08/31/2021 11/30/2021

Course Description

This yearlong clinical course exposes students to all aspects of criminal prosecution, provides students with hands-on courtroom experience, and pushes students to think about issues surrounding the American criminal justice system. Through a combination of classroom lectures, discussions, guest speakers, and field placement in one of several local prosecutors’ offices, students will explore a range of practical, ethical, and intellectual issues involved in the discharge of a prosecutor’s duties and responsibilities. The highlight of the clinic is the students’ experiences interning in the Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Offices for Charlottesville or Albemarle County, or one of 16 other surrounding Virginia jurisdictions within 30-75 minutes of the law school. Students who prefer experience in a federal office can seek placement in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond. For the full academic year, students will be assigned to one of these participating prosecutors’ offices, where they are expected to work on pending cases or in court approximately eight hours per week. Most of the students’ responsibilities and duties will be at the trial court or pre-trial level, but may include writing appellate briefs and research assignments. Students are expected to work out a suitable schedule with the office to which he or she is assigned. Students must be willing to work in whatever office is assigned and are responsible for their own transportation and commuting costs. In the fall semester, field placement is supplemented by classroom lectures, discussions, and speakers, so that students are prepared to appear in court and handle a range of criminal matters. Specifically, lectures will focus on Virginia crimes, defenses, procedure, and criminal case issues, such as warrants, bond hearings, competency issues, motion practice, trial preparation, and sentencing. Experienced guest speakers will help complement and illustrate the issues raised in the lectures. In the spring semester, students will spend less time in the classroom, as they are prepared to prosecute a misdemeanor case from arrest to completion. Instead, classroom time will be devoted to discussion of issues students are experiencing in the courtroom and which are reflective of system-based issues generally. Such discussions and speakers may address topics such as race and the law, gender and the law, criminal justice and sentencing reform, the role of forensic science, the effect of the opioid epidemic on the criminal justice system, mental health issues, diversion courts, or other issues students wish addressed. Throughout the year, students also will be required to observe certain court proceedings and participate in a ride-along with a police officer. There also will be a take-home test in the fall semester and a major paper (10-12 pages) due at the end of the spring semester. The paper is not a research paper and will not satisfy the upper-level writing requirement. In addition, student assessment will be based on clinic and classroom participation. Students will receive three credit hours in the fall and five in the spring semester. Students who wish to enroll must complete an application form (available on the Clinics webpage). Selected students will be notified by mid-June. Because spaces in the program are limited, and because of the need to perform background checks in some instances that require deployment of significant resources, the application sheet includes a formal representation which must be signed by the student that he or she will honor the commitment to undertake this program, if selected.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): None
Description: None

Final Type (if any): Flex
Description: A take home exam will be required towards end of fall semester.

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: In addition to field placement assignments, students will be required to submit a 10-12 page reflection paper due at the end of the spring semester via EXPO (deadline to be announced).

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: Third-year status, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Evidence, and Professional Responsibility to obtain Third-Year Practice Certification from the Virginia Bar. Prior completion of Criminal Adjudication or Criminal Investigation or Criminal Procedure Survey, and Trial Advocacy are strongly recommended. Because the credits in this course count toward the JD Program Professional Skills requirement, JD candidates will be given enrollment priority for this class. Concurrencies: Either Trial Ad or one of the criminal procedure courses may be taken first semester third-year as a “co-requisite”, but not both, and students who already have all six are given preference for admission. Students must be eligible for and obtain Third Year Practice Certification from the Virginia Bar in the fall term (which requires the first four pre-reqs).
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: Yes
Course Resources: To be announced.
Course Notes: Of the eight credits awarded for this year-long clinic, four credits will be allocated to the fall semester (on a CR/NC grading basis) and four credits to the spring semester (on a letter grading basis). ATTENDANCE: Enrolled students who do not attend the first class session will be dropped. Students seeking to enroll in this course must attend the first class session.

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: Yes
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*If “Yes,” then students are required to submit a substantial research paper in this course, which means students do not need to submit any form to SRO for this paper to meet their upper-level writing requirement. If “No,” then students must submit a “special request” e-form to SRO (available via LawWeb) no later than five weeks after the start of the term for a paper in this class to be counted toward the upper-level writing requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Wednesday, November 17, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Friday, December 03, 11:59 PM