Course Information

Course Number




JD Graduation Requirements

This course typically satisfies all or some of the following JD graduation requirements:
  • Professional Skills

Appellate Litigation Clinic (Spring)

Students will, under the close supervision of faculty, brief and argue appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit and in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Work will involve reviewing the trial court record to identify appealable issues, legal research, drafting and filing appellate briefs, preparing the excerpts of record for the court of appeals, preparing for oral argument, and arguing the case, with 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 ten students; it is expected that three to four students will work on 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 or have enrolled in the school's appellate practice or federal courts courses.

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, Thanksgiving break, and winter break. Oral argument may overlap with spring break. Clinic students represent real clients and operate under court-imposed deadlines; consequently, if scheduling conflicts arise, your work on clinic cases must take priority over your extracurricular activities (such as moot court).

Please note that course organization and content may vary substantially from semester to semester and descriptions are not necessarily professor specific. Please contact the instructor directly if you have particular course-related questions.