Innocence Project Clinic (YR)

Section 1, Fall 22

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 13/13
Credits: 4
Days* Time Room Start Date End Date
  • M
  • 1300-1500
  • WB114
09/05/2022 12/05/2022
*“R” means Thursday

Course Description

Students in this year-long clinic will investigate and litigate wrongful convictions of inmates throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Some of the cases will have forensic evidence (usually DNA) that could be tested, and some will be non-DNA cases. Preliminary cases will be assigned to individual clinic students for factual development and evaluation to determine whether or not the clinic should accept the case. The decision to accept or decline representation will be discussed and vetted with the full clinic and the final decision will be made by your Professors. Students work in teams of 3-4 to investigate and litigate on cases that the clinic accepts for representation.. In every case, students will be directed and assisted by the clinic Professor, but as students demonstrate competence and confidence, they may earn the opportunity for greater independence. Although the clinic will have a classroom component, most time will be devoted to casework – interviewing potential clients and witnesses, general investigation, reviewing case files, collecting records, searching court files, and drafting pleadings. Students will likely be visiting inmates at correctional centers, and conducting investigation in a wide variety of socioeconomic settings accompanied by the clinic Professors, a private investigator, or, in some instances, another student.

Course Requirements

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

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Writing pertaining to interviewing potential clients and witnesses, general investigation, reviewing case files, collecting records, searching court files, developing and implementing litigation strategies, and more.

Other Work
Interviewing potential clients and witnesses, general investigation, reviewing case files, collecting records, searching court files, developing and implementing litigation strategies, etc.

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: Criminal Procedure and Evidence recommended, but not required. 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: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: Yes
Course Resources: To be announced.
Course Notes: Enrollment in this clinic is done through an application process in mid-June administered by the instructors and the Director of Clinics, Prof. Sarah Shalf. The application process will be announced by Prof. Shalf. The professors will notify Student Records of which students accept offers to join the clinic, and Student Records will enroll those students in the course prior to the enrollment lottery for fall classes. Students should attempt to arrange their schedules to have at least one full weekday free for investigations, Monday and Friday being preferable. Some weekend and evening investigations will also be required. In addition, student teams will meet regularly with Professors Givens and Hatchett for supervision and direction. Interested students should anticipate that the clinic will require a minimum of 15 hours per week and you will be expected to record your time on clinic timesheets. The hours required for clinic work will vary according to the demands of the cases. The professor will not always be able to predict or control when the cases will demand intensive hours, so flexibility is important. NOTE REGARDING CREDITS: Of the eight credits awarded for this clinic, four will receive a "credit/no credit" grade at the conclusion of the fall semester, and four will receive a letter grade at the conclusion of the spring semester.

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.
122819764
Law No.
LAW8628
Modified Type
Clinical (Excl.)
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Tuesday, November 29, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Friday, December 09, 11:59 PM
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