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  • Civil Rights Appellate Clinic

Civil Rights Appellate Clinic FAQs

What is the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic?

The Civil Rights Appellate Clinic is intended to provide students with a practical but intensive experience in appellate advocacy in the civil rights context. This clinical offering will provide exposure to drafting merits and amicus briefs in noncriminal civil rights cases in the state courts, federal appellate courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Cases may derive from various sources, such as civil rights advocacy organizations, Third Circuit pro bono referrals, and from Penn State Dickinson School of Law professors.

What kind of work do students perform?

The work varies depending on what types of cases are on the docket. Students assist in case selection, the development of substantive legal positions, provide research, assist in appellate strategy development, and draft briefs. Typical work may include reviewing and analyzing certiorari petitions, drafting case approval memos, drafting amicus and merits briefs, involvement in appellate strategy and moot court, and where appropriate, oral arguments. Because this is a clinical offering, the initial focus will be on amicus briefs; however, the driving decision for case selection will be cases that, during any particular clinic session, offer the best pedagogical value.

Where is the Clinic located?

The clinic operates out of the Law School's facilities in Innovation Park, but students may be accepted from throughout the school.

What kind of commitment is expected in the Civil Rights Clinic?

Students are expected to commit between 12 to 16 hours per week plus an additional weekly classroom component.

Are there any prerequisites?

Third-year students who have completed a substantive civil rights or employment law course will be given preference. Completion of evidence is also preferred.

How do I apply?

As enrollment will be limited, those interested should submit an online application. If students have any questions they should feel free to contact Professor Michael Foreman at mlf25@psu.edu or (814) 865-3832 or simply stop by his office at 329 Innovation Boulevard, Suite 118.