Students working in teams will, under the close supervision of the clinic director, handle appeals. Enrollment is limited to third-year students. Each team is assigned to an appeal. Past appeals for this clinic have all been in federal appellate courts (Fourth Circuit, D.C. Circuit, and Third Circuit), but the venue might vary. Work will include reviewing the trial court record to identify appealable issues, legal research, drafting appellate briefs, preparing the excerpts of record for the court of appeals, preparing for oral argument if argument is scheduled, and arguing the case (only one student on a team can argue any appeal, with client and court permission). In addition, faculty will meet with the students in a seminar setting early in the year to discuss appellate advocacy and the procedural and substantive law necessary to handle the appeals. Enrollment is limited to eight students (unless case load permits larger enrollment, which won't be known until the fall semester commences). In the past, three to four students typically have been assigned to each case.
Because of the time necessary to handle an appeal from briefing through argument, this is a year-long seminar offering 3 credits in the fall and 2 credits in the spring, and you must be enrolled in both semesters to get credit. Students must be in at least their fourth semester of law school to enroll in the clinic. It is strongly recommended that students enrolling in this course have completed the school's appellate practice course. It is also recommended that students enrolling in this course have completed or have enrolled in the federal courts course.
For a practitioner, the appellate process focuses largely on researching and writing; thus most of the work in this clinic will entail researching and writing. Because of tight court-imposed deadlines and the demands of appellate practice, this course requires students to be exceedingly flexible with their schedules and to dedicate significant amounts of time in the briefing process and in preparing for oral argument. The briefing schedules overlap with fall break and winter break. Oral argument preparation often overlaps with spring break. Clinic students represent real clients and operate under court-imposed deadlines; consequently, if scheduling conflicts arise, work on clinic cases must take priority over extracurricular activities (such as moot court).
Like students in all other Duke clinics, appellate clinic students must attend the ethics portion of the all-day clinic intensive held in early September.
Students seeking to enroll in the appellate clinic are strongly encouraged to contact Prof. Andrussier before enrolling.
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