In a project-based practicum course, students participate in a weekly seminar and work on a project under the supervision of their professors. In this practicum, students will work on all aspects of an innovative litigation strategy, using the First Amendment to fight the pervasive problem of judicial and political interference with public defenders across the country. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and carry out 15 hours/week of project work under the direction of the course professors.
SEMINAR: In 2018, Civil Rights Corps (CRC) launched its Indigent Defense Initiative, through which Civil Rights Corps attorneys will fight systemic denials of the right-to-counsel. In this course, we're going to work on federal litigation to fight structural threats to the independence of state and local public defense across the country. To do this, we'll learn about three basic kinds of legal problems: first-amendment problems, criminal-procedure problems, and federal-procedure problems. So far, I've set up the syllabus to tackle these problems in that order, but it's probably best to view that as a very tentative plan: if specific issues come up in our practical work, I think we'll want to address those issues during the seminar.
PROJECT WORK: Students will assist in investigating new cases and in all aspects of litigation on CRC’s clients’ behalf, from drafting complaints, investigating, writing motions, and doing legal research. In weekly seminars, students will prepare for this work by discussing the diverse legal topics that arise in the project’s litigation. Topics will include civil procedure, federal courts, and the First Amendment’s protection from employment retaliation.