The Prisoner and Reentry Clinic, formerly known as the Neighborhood Law & Policy Clinic, focuses on legal issues involved in post-conviction "reentry" 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 reentry 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.
This an intensive litigation clinic and students will be responsible for lawyering their cases from intake to trial. Students will interview clients, develop factual and legal theories, conduct research, prepare witnesses, negotiate with opposing parties, write briefs and motions, present oral arguments, and conduct full evidentiary hearings. In preparing to represent their clients, students may travel to prisons in neighboring states, their clients’ homes, and government agencies to conduct interviews and obtain relevant evidence. The Clinic also engages in local policy advocacy and students may have the opportunity to prepare white papers, collect data, draft rules and statutes, or deliver testimony at public hearings.
Students in the Clinic will learn to effectively undertake the responsibilities of lawyers, and to consider the possibilities and limits of the lawyer’s role. They will be challenged and encouraged to think through strategic decisions at every stage of the client representation or policy work. Given the range in the Clinic’s caseload, students will learn how to utilize different statutory and regulatory frameworks to craft factual narratives and legal arguments, and will become familiar with the ways in which different tribunals adjudicate disputes.
Each semester the clinics hold an Open House where each clinic’s faculty is available to answer questions about their clinic. Students may contact Professor Steinberg at any time to discuss the clinic or to ask specific questions.
For more information, and to apply, please login to the portal. Application materials are posted at least a few weeks prior to the start of the registration period for the following semester.
- Areas of Study
- Friedman Fellowship Program
- Criminal Appeals & Post-Conviction Services
- Domestic Violence Project
- Family Justice Litigation
- Health Rights Law
- International Human Rights
- Law Students in Court
- Prisoner & Reentry
- Public Justice Advocacy
- Small Business & Community Economic Development
- Vaccine Injury Litigation
- Field Placement
- Public Interest & Pro Bono
- Study Abroad & Exchange Programs
- Research Centers & Initiatives
- Academic Calendar
- The Bulletin