Criminal Defense Clinic
Spring 2024: Visiting Professor of Law Julie Cramer and Clinical Teaching Fellow Colleen Cullen
Students enrolled in the semester-long Criminal Defense Clinic represent low-income clients charged with a wide variety of misdemeanor crimes and municipal ordinance violations, including assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, theft and many others. Students learn and apply lawyering skills such as interviewing, client counseling, fact investigation, legal research and writing, oral advocacy, negotiation and trial preparation. Students also appear regularly in court for arraignments, pretrial conferences, motions hearings and trial. Through both classes and cases, students have numerous opportunities to explore systemic problems such as racial and economic bias, law enforcement accountability and access to justice.
I had no courtroom experience and was still deciding if criminal defense work was right for me. The workload was tremendous, the learning curve was steep (I had no clue how to even serve a subpoena), and the emotional investment I made in each of my clients kept me awake many nights as I worried about their future. However, knowing my professors worked just as hard as I was working, and gave me all of the support I could want, got me through that first semester (which included a bench trial and a suppression hearing). Amelia Power, JD’15