A Day in Federal Court
Graduating student Dana Wallace '16 wrapped up her career at the University of Virginia School of Law on Thursday by arguing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The day capped a year in which all 12 students in the Appellate Litigation Clinic argued before a federal appeals court.
"It helped put everything we learned in law school together," said Wallace, who hails from Trinidad and Tobago.
Led by Professor Stephen Braga, the yearlong clinic allows third-year students to engage in the hands-on practice of appellate litigation through actual cases before federal circuit courts of appeals. Essentially acting as a small law firm, the students work in teams to help each other prepare cases, with one student having primary responsibility for each case.
For Thursday's argument, the team also included clinic students Jude Halawi and Andrew Selman, who wrote the briefs. Halawi served as Wallace's "second chair," ready to make the argument himself if needed as backup.
The case, Keith Clark v. Larry Cartledge, involved a procedural issue that the clinic said would help their client, Clark, have an opportunity to appeal his sexual assault conviction.
"If you want to do litigation, take the Appellate Litigation Clinic," Wallace said, adding that it also improves students' brief-writing skills. The clinic offered "a level of independence there that really helps you become better," she said. "And it's real courtroom experience."
Arguing Before the 4th Circuit
Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.