Project for Informed Reform Clinic (YR)

Section 1, Fall 22

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 5/8
Credits: 4
Days* Time Room Start Date End Date
  • W
  • 1410-1530
  • SL276
08/31/2022 12/07/2022
*“R” means Thursday

Course Description

There is currently a groundswell for criminal justice reform. At the same time, much is being written about the lack of hard facts and reliable data to inform these changes. This clinic aims to step into that void and take on collaborative projects to produce those hard facts and reliable data for all types of organizations in the criminal justice reform movement needing that information. Here is a brief description of just three of the many projects/problems we will be tackling this year: (1) A corrupt detective who served on the force for decades was ultimately prosecuted by the federal government and served over ten years in prison. What failed to happen was even more shocking: no one ever reviewed all the cases he investigated. The newly elected prosecutor has agreed to allow our clinic to conduct this investigation, an unprecedented partnership for a project like this. We will ultimately write a report identifying the wrongful convictions and innocence cases caused by this detective; meanwhile, we will create a data base of law firms and lawyers willing to serve as pro bono counsel for these individuals; (2) For a host of reasons, a known – and deceased – serial killer was never thoroughly investigated by law enforcement. Using thousands of federal, state and local law enforcement records already collected, our clinic will link him to unsolved crimes in over twenty states and in several other countries; (3) A local prosecutor brought a problem to our project. Jury venires in Charlottesville are racially imbalanced for a number of reasons, and it turns out this is a national problem as well. Because information related to jurors is often confidential, it is difficult to obtain data to identify the specific problems and create meaningful solutions. At the end of last year, we partnered with the pro bono section of a company that specializes in data collection. This fall, we will create a methodology for analyzing the data and create remedies. Some students may have to travel to review files on a weekday, so a car would be useful, although not essential. Also, having a full day with no classes would also be useful, but not essential. The goal is to produce white papers, research papers and/or testimony in support of legislation related to criminal justice reform. Clinic students should expect to devote a minimum of 12 – 15 hours to clinic work each week.

Course Requirements

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

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: The goal of the clinic is to produce white papers, research papers and/or testimony in support of legislation related to criminal justice reform. If a student intends to use written work product in this clinic toward the upper-level writing requirement, the student (1) must submit a special request form to SRO by October 4, 2022 AND (2) must have already satisfied their Prof. Skills requirement without use of the credits in this course.

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: Students are encourage to have taken Advanced Legal Research, but it is not required. Also, 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 initially by application process announced by the Director of Clinical Programs and administered by the instructor, and then if seats remain, by the regular enrollment process (lottery & add-drop). Prof. Enright will inform SRO of the students approved for enrollment by application, and SRO will enroll those students in the course; no action is needed by the student accepted via application to finalize enrollment. NOTE REGARDING CREDITS AND GRADING BASIS: Of the eight credits awarded for this clinic, four will receive a Credit (CR) or No Credit (NC) grade at the conclusion of the fall semester, and four will receive a grade of Honors (H), Pass (P) or Fail (F) at the conclusion of the spring semester. In accordance with Academic Policy, CR, NC, H, P, and F grades do not earn grading points, so they do not contribute to a student's grade point average (GPA).

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
Clinical (Excl.)
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Wednesday, November 30, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Friday, December 09, 11:59 PM