APPLICATION REQUIRED. See Student Affairs Office, TNH 2.117, or download from the clinic's website: www.utexas.edu/law/academics/clinics/criminal/.
The Criminal Defense Clinic (CDC) is the Law School's oldest clinical program, having operated continuously since 1974. Clinic students, supervised by skilled practitioners, represent indigent misdemeanor defendants in Travis County. Typical offenses include DWI, theft, drug possession, assault, and prostitution.
Two experienced practitioners co-teach the summer clinic. One has been with the CDC over 30 years directly supervising students; the other has been with the CDC for 15 years, the last five in direct supervision of students and their cases.
Clinic students function as the "first chair" attorney. The supervising attorney prepares and guides them and sits "second chair" during court proceedings. Students arrange jail release, interview clients and witnesses, litigate pretrial issues, negotiate with prosecutors, and try cases to judges and juries. For appeals, students review transcripts, write briefs, and present oral arguments. Over the years, the collaboration between Clinic students and supervisors has produced impressive results, including a victory in the United States Supreme Court.
Clinic participation requires scheduling flexibility. Most court appearances occur on Tuesday morning; the rest occur at various times. The class meets 3:30- 5:30 on Thursday, but additional classes and simulations are scheduled during the first month. Each clinic student is required to act on the "duty day" schedule several times a semester. Aside from going to class, the student conducts initial intake interviews with potential clinic clients. The duty day student may also be called upon to get someone out of jail. These extra obligations make the first month especially demanding.
The Clinic is a five-credit, pass/fail course. The classroom component emphasizes the nuts and bolts of criminal defense with emphasis on misdemeanor practice in Travis County. The simulation component emphasizes negotiation and trial skills. The Clinic typically attracts students interested not only in criminal prosecution and defense, but also in civil litigation. For more information, contact Bill Allison [(512) 232-1463; Connally 4.302A] or the clinic main number, (512) 232-1300.
Prerequisites: 43 credit hours completed before clinic enrollment; not on scholastic probation or equivalent if transferring in for the summer.