Neighborhood Law & Policy Clinic
The Neighborhood Law and Policy Clinic focuses on legal issues involved in post-conviction “re-entry” to the community for individuals with criminal histories. This is an intensive litigation clinic in which students, under faculty supervision, handle, from intake through trial, civil and quasi-criminal cases on behalf of the ex-offenders, parolees, and prisoners whom they represent in federal administrative tribunals or D.C. Superior Court. Representative casework includes representing a client at a parole eligibility hearing in federal prison, or appealing a client’s termination from a homeless shelter due to a criminal record. Students may also participate in policy advocacy before the D.C. Council or with organizational clients on offender re-entry issues.
Through this clinic, students develop a wide array of skills, including interviewing and counseling clients, problem-solving, collaboration, developing factual and legal theories, case planning, witness preparation, negotiating with opposing parties, presenting oral arguments, conducting evidentiary hearings, researching and writing legal documents, and system analysis and reform. The classroom component of the clinic focuses on skills development as well as structural issues related to the intersection of poverty, race, and class with the civil and criminal justice systems. The clinic is open to all second and third year students with no prerequisite courses.