Criminal Defense and Justice Clinic

In the Criminal Defense and Justice Clinic (CDJC), students participate in a rich and intensive learning experience that immerses them in criminal defense work. Students in CDJC represent individuals charged with criminal offenses in court; examine, consider, and act to remedy injustices in the criminal legal system; and participate in a rigorous and interactive weekly classroom seminar.

Students in CDJC represent indigent individuals who are charged with misdemeanor offenses in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Charges will typically include assault, destruction of property, drug possession, theft, threats, and unlawful entry. Under the guidance and supervision of faculty, students will learn substantive law, strategic thinking, independent judgment, and the skills necessary to provide excellent, client-centered representation. Students will be responsible for every aspect of their cases, including interviewing and counseling clients, investigating facts and interviewing witnesses, negotiating with prosecutors, drafting and litigating motions, and ultimately taking the case to trial, if appropriate. In preparation for trial, students will develop the various advocacy skills necessary to represent their clients in court, including motions practice, opening statements, cross and direct examination, and closing argument.

Contact Us

The George Washington University Law School
Criminal Defense and Justice
2000 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20052


Lula Hagos
Peter Calloway

Student Information & Eligibility Requirements

The Clinic will focus primarily on defending people in criminal proceedings in Washington, DC. Through their case work and class discussions, students will gain critical insights about the efficacy and fairness of the criminal legal system itself and tackle issues relating to race, poverty, and mass incarceration, among others. Students may also work on related advocacy projects connected to racial and/or economic justice and criminal law, engaging students in system reform through direct action.

Course Prerequisites

Criminal Procedure (6360) and Evidence (6230).

For more information, please log in to the Portal. A complete set of application instructions is posted approximately one month prior to the registration period for the following semester on the Clinics portal page.

Information for Clients

Unfortunately, the Criminal Defense and Justice Clinic cannot take cases from the public. The Clinic currently receives all case appointments from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.