Prof. James Cohen
Associate Professor of Law, Federal Litigation Clinic
Prof. Michael W. Martin
Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Federal Litigation Clinic
HIGH STAKES AND COMPLEX matters are the day-to-day work of the Federal Litigation Clinic. Students working in teams of two's and three's represent people in either criminal defense or civil rights actions in the United States District Courts and the United States Courts of Appeal. Each case presents a host of fascinating and complex issues that lack obvious answers and make "rigor" and "innovation" critical concepts to this clinic.
Many Litigation Clinic clients are accused of serious federal crimes and face the possibility of long prison terms, thus requiring students to engage in strong fact investigations, critical negotiating and counseling sessions, and persuasive written and oral advocacy. The Fed Lit Clinic's civil docket allows students additional advocacy opportunities, such as deposing witnesses, arguing motions, and trying cases.
In all cases, the students and professor engage in intense analysis -- often turning the matter upside down, inside out, moving it backward and forward, and ultimately dissecting and reconstructing it -- to discover the course that best fits the client's goals.
Students may work intensively on civil discovery in one matter while they collaborate with a doctoral student in forensic psychology on a sentencing issue in another case, proving a favorite maxim of the clinic's faculty: "a good lawyer will consider every cause and consequence of a case for strategic and legal reasons."
We provide, by any measure, first-rate legal representation to a group of clients who generally would not otherwise be able to afford it. Additionally, we can guide students on how to offer this representation with more, and a different kind of, seriousness.
-- Professor James Cohen, Founding Director of Clinical Education Program