407.01 Appellate Litigation Clinic (Fall)

The Appellate Litigation Clinic offers students the opportunity to work on a federal appeal.  Our cases are typically in the Third or Fourth Circuit and have involved a wide range of complex and novel civil and criminal issues.  This Clinic will provide you with the chance to experience what it is like to be an appellate lawyer.  Because appellate practice focuses largely on researching and writing, students in the Appellate Clinic naturally focuses on those matters. Clinic students work in teams to review the trial court record, conduct sophisticated legal research, prepare research memos, draft and edit briefs (typically an opening brief and a reply brief), participate in tactical decision making, prepare the record excerpts for the court of appeals, and prepare for oral argument.  When oral argument is calendared during the academic year, it is expected that a student on the Clinic team for that case will argue the appeal (subject to client permission).  In addition, the Clinic faculty will lead a weekly seminar that will allow for instruction on the appellate process, reflection on case work, and strategic and tactical case planning.

Because of the time needed to handle an appeal through briefing and argument, the Appellate Clinic is a full-year clinic, and students must enroll in both semesters.  Students receive 3 credits in the fall semester and either 2 or 3 credits in the spring semester.  It is expected that most students will receive 3 credits for both semesters, but the credits for the spring semester may be adjusted based on workload.

Students seeking to enroll in the appellate clinic are encouraged to contact Prof. Andrussier before enrolling to discuss, among other things, scheduling. The Appellate Clinic, like our other clinical courses, involves the representation of real clients in ongoing legal matters.  As a result, participation in the Clinic requires students to be flexible with their schedules to fulfill their professional obligations to clients under court-imposed schedules, including possibly during a school break.  For more information about that, please contact Prof. Andrussier.

Enrollment is limited to third-year students (i.e., students enrolling in this clinic must have completed four semesters of law school).  It is helpful (though not required) to have previously taken Appellate Practice.  Students should not enroll in that course and the Appellate Clinic simultaneously.  It is recommended that students enrolling in the Appellate Clinic have completed or be contemporaneously enrolled in the federal courts course.


  • As with other clinics, this course may not be dropped after the first class meeting.
  • Appellate Clinic students represent real clients, enter appearances in court as student counsel, and operate under court-imposed deadlines and schedules.  Consequently, clinical work must take priority over extracurricular activities.
  • Students must attend the all-day clinic intensive held on a Friday in early September (students in all clinics must attend).

Fall 2019

Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room
Course Credits
Sean E. Andrussier Tu 6:00-8:00 PM 4055
Sakai site: https://sakai.duke.edu/portal/site/LAW.407.01.F19
Email list: LAW.407.01.F19@sakai.duke.edu
Degree Requirements
Course Requirements - JD
Course Requirements - Public Interest
Course Areas of Practice