HIGH STAKES AND COMPLEX matters are the day-to-day work of the Federal Litigation Clinic. Students working in teams of two's and three's represent people in criminal defense, civil rights actions, or intellectual property disputes in the United States District Courts and the United States Courts of Appeal. Each case presents a host of fascinating and complex issues that lack obvious answers and make "rigor" and "innovation" critical concepts to this clinic.
Many Fed Lit Clinic clients are accused of serious federal crimes and face the possibility of long prison terms, thus requiring students to engage in strong fact investigations, critical negotiating and counseling sessions, and persuasive written and oral advocacy. The Fed Lit Clinic's civil docket allows students additional advocacy opportunities, such as deposing witnesses, arguing motions, and trying cases. Thus, students may work intensively on civil discovery in one matter while they collaborate with a doctoral student in forensic psychology on a sentencing issue in another case.
In all cases, the students and professor engage in intense analysis -- often turning the matter upside down, inside out, moving it backward and forward, and ultimately dissecting and reconstructing it -- to discover the course that best fits the client's goals. Over the past ten years, this creative process has resulted in six habeas petitions being granted or conceded, several clients’ felony charges being dropped or reduced to misdemeanors, countless sentences being far less than the recommended guidelines, and formerly pro se civil clients receiving significant recompense for their injuries.
Prof. Michael W. Martin
Clinical Professor of Law,
Federal Litigation Clinic
We provide, by any measure, first-rate legal representation to a group of clients who generally would not otherwise be able to afford it. Additionally, we can guide students on how to offer this representation with more, and a different kind of, rigor. Our results are a testament to the extraordinary effort and dedication our students have shown their clients.
-- Professor Michael W. Martin