Criminal Defense Clinic

Section 1, Spring 20

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 10/16
Credits: 5

Course Description

The semester-long Criminal Defense Clinic provides a first-hand, experience-based study of the processes, techniques, strategies, and responsibilities of criminal defense counsel at the trial level. Under the direct supervision of an experienced criminal defense attorney, each student will represent indigent defendants in actual criminal cases pending in the local courts. The students themselves—not their supervising attorneys—will perform all of the lawyering functions associated with their cases, including investigation, legal research, plea negotiation, and courtroom advocacy. The full clinic meets twice weekly in seminar sessions where substantive areas of criminal defense practice are covered, including client management, evidentiary issues, investigations, criminal procedure, sentencing options, and ethical responsibilities. During the second half of the semester the emphasis will be on discussion of individual cases, and the seminar sessions may include occasional trial simulation exercises. In addition, the class is divided into small supervision sections that meet weekly with supervising attorneys who will guide the students’ case preparation, give practical advice, and help develop defense strategies. Written memoranda are required to document the legal and factual investigations, client and witness interviews, trial strategy, and the outcome of the case. At the conclusion of each case the student will submit a final memorandum reviewing the case history and critically reflecting on the decisions made during the representation that affected the outcome.

Course Requirements

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

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


Written Work Product
Written Work Product: No required paper or exam, but each student is required to prepare a series of memoranda in each case, beginning with the intial case assignment, continuing through the investigation and trial preparation, and ending with a closing memorandum.

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: (Civil Procedure (6000)) AND (Criminal Law (6003)) AND (Evidence (6104)) AND (Professional Responsibility (7071) OR Professional Responsibility in Public Interest Law Practice (7072) OR Professional Responsibility for Tax Lawyers (7134) OR Ethics and Integrity for Law Firm Lawyers and Their Clients (SC) (7605)) Third-Year JD status required; These classes are recommended but not required: Trial Advocacy, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Adjudication, Criminal Procedure Seminar, and Negotiation. Students must be eligible for Third-Year Practice Certification. 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 Notes:

Graduation Requirements

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

*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the 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.

General Information

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens:
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: