Neighborhood Law & Policy Clinic

The Neighborhood Law and Policy Clinic represents prisoners and individuals facing legal barriers as a result of their criminal records.

This is an intensive litigation clinic in which students, under faculty supervision, handle cases in federal administrative tribunals or D.C. Superior Court. The clinic’s cases tackle issues related to mass incarceration, prisoner reentry, and the collateral consequences of criminal convictions. Representative casework includes representing a client at a parole eligibility hearing in federal prison, seeking executive clemency on behalf of a low-level drug offender serving a life sentence, or seeking to expunge a client’s criminal record on the basis of actual innocence. 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, and written and oral advocacy. 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.

In the News

"Law School Clinics’ Vital Role in Clemency Cases"
The New York Times | September 1, 2015

"With Clemency From Obama, Drug Offender Embraces Second Chance"
The New York Times | August, 14, 2015

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