447 Criminal Defense Clinic

The Criminal Defense Clinic will center around the direct representation of indigent clients facing prosecution for criminal charges in Durham District Court. The primary focus of student casework will be serving as lead counsel on misdemeanor cases. Students’ trial-level advocacy will be grounded in seminar examination of mass incarceration, the impacts of race and poverty in the criminal justice system, and principles of client-centered and community-oriented defense. Through observation and shadowing, their own in-court experiences, and close faculty supervision clinic students will develop professional skills in client interaction, fact-development, case planning, negotiation, legal writing and argument, and trial advocacy. The semester will conclude with students extrapolating opportunities for systemic reform, derived from their experiences representing individual clients, with an emphasis on creative and interdisciplinary advocacy. Consistent with the law school’s other clinics, the Criminal Defense Clinic will combine a substantive weekly seminar with weekly individual case supervision and preparation meetings, and clinical casework.

Enrollment Pre-/Co- Requisite Information

Pre-Req:  Law 245 Evidence and Law 226 Criminal Procedure: Investigation 

Co-requisites:  Law 420 Trial Practice or Law 422 Criminal Trial Practice and Ethics

Course Areas of Practice
Evaluation Methods
  • Reflective Writing
  • Practical exercises
  • Live-client representation and case management
  • Class participation
Degree Requirements
Course Type
  • Clinic
Learning Outcomes
  • Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context

Spring 2023

2023
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

447.01 4
  • Reflective Writing
  • Practical exercises
  • Live-client representation and case management
  • Class participation
Elana Fogel Tu 2:00 PM - 3:50 PM

The Criminal Defense Clinic will center around the direct representation of indigent clients facing prosecution for criminal charges in Durham District Court. The primary focus of student casework will be serving as lead counsel on misdemeanor cases. Students’ trial-level advocacy will be grounded in seminar examination of mass incarceration, the impacts of race and poverty in the criminal justice system, and principles of client-centered and community-oriented defense. Through observation and shadowing, their own in-court experiences, and close faculty supervision clinic students will develop professional skills in client interaction, fact-development, case planning, negotiation, legal writing and argument, and trial advocacy. The semester will conclude with students extrapolating opportunities for systemic reform, derived from their experiences representing individual clients, with an emphasis on creative and interdisciplinary advocacy. Consistent with the law school’s other clinics, the Criminal Defense Clinic will combine a substantive weekly seminar with weekly individual case supervision and preparation meetings, and clinical casework.

Pre/Co-requisites

Pre-Req:  Law 245 Evidence and Law 226 Criminal Procedure: Investigation 

Co-requisites:  Law 420 Trial Practice or Law 422 Criminal Trial Practice and Ethics

*Please note that this information is for planning purposes only, and should not be relied upon for the schedule for a given semester. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.