Juvenile Lifer Advocacy Clinic

This clinic is a one-semester clinic, offered in both the fall and spring semesters. The clinic is a four (4) credit course offering. Enrollment is limited to six (6) students per semester. At the conclusion of the semester, students in the clinic will be expected to have accomplished all of the following outcome measures:

  1. Students will develop an understanding of the basic procedural structure of the criminal justice process;
  2. Students will learn to recognize and employ critical elements of persuasive legal writing;
  3. Students will learn to recognize and employ the components of effective oral advocacy;
  4. Students will learn the practical skills needed for successful client interviewing;
  5. Students will improve their understanding of issues central to the criminal justice system like mass incarceration, its impact on juvenile offenders, and parole; and will develop a clear understanding of the role their work during the semester plays with regard to these issues.


The above-listed outcome measures will be pursued in the context of actual cases. Students will be asked to engage in client interactions primarily in the form of client interviewing, and written and oral advocacy in cases pending in the Maryland courts. All practice-based student work in these units will be carried out under the close supervision of the clinical faculty member:

This clinic will involve two hours of class time per week, and approximately 12 additional hours per week working in the Office of the Public Defender’s Decarceration Initiative, a program housed approximately five blocks from the law school. As part of this work, students likely will visit one or more state prisons and attend multiple court hearings. Students will represent juvenile lifers (people serving life sentences for crimes committed when they were under 18 years of age) for the purpose of preparing and litigating in the circuit court motions for reduction of sentence under Maryland’s recently enacted Juvenile Restoration Act. In representing a client, students will interview the client and possibly their family or friends, gather mitigation, prepare a proposed release plan, prepare the motion, negotiate with the prosecution (in some cases), and, subject to the approval of the faculty member and the timing of the hearing, represent the client in the hearing as co-counsel.

This course is not currently scheduled.
Last offered Spring 2022.

Key to Codes in Course Descriptions
P: Prerequisite
C: Prerequisite or Concurrent Requirement
R: Recommended Prior or Concurrent Course