Howard University

Criminal Justice Clinic

The Criminal Justice Clinic (CJC) is a one-year clinical course for which a student receives twelve (12) credits. Because the course is year-long, a student receives no credit if he/she does not complete the second semester of the course.

The CJC course includes actual client representation and a classroom seminar. The classroom portion of the clinic includes two (2) seminar sessions per week, each of which is an hour and fifty minutes in duration. The classroom component includes review of Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure and Evidence, as well as case rounds, analysis of ethical, strategic and client representation issues and litigation skill development. The legal work includes the representation of indigent adult persons charged with criminal misdemeanors in the District of Columbia Superior Court.

Students are responsible for all aspects of the representation of the client, under the direct supervision of the CJC faculty, including preparation for presentation of the cases at all stages of the proceeding. Such preparation includes, but is not limited to, client and witness interviews, interaction with the Office of the United States Attorney and the Metropolitan Police Department, legal research and the drafting and filing of litigation pleadings. Students also appear in court at pretrial hearings, trials, sentencing proceedings and parole revocation hearings. The CJC continues to expand to other areas of criminal practice and may in various years include administrative hearings, juvenile justice matters or the representation of defendants in protective order violations in domestic relations cases.

Eligibility And Prerequisites

  1. Successful completion of four (4) semesters of law school study;
  2. Successful completion of a course in Evidence, Civil Procedure, and Criminal Procedure (either Criminal Procedure I or Criminal Procedure II) prior to the semester in which the student will be enrolled in the CJC (concurrent enrollment in the CJC and the above-mentioned courses is not permitted);
  3. Eligibility for admission to engage in the limited practice of law in the District of Columbia pursuant to Rule 48 of the Rules of the D.C. Court of Appeals;
  4. Timely completion of an application for enrollment in the CJC; and
  5. Be interviewed and approved for enrollment by the faculty of the CJC.
  6. Attendance at a mandatory pre-semester orientation program.

Enrollment in the CJC is limited to sixteen (16) students per year. A student must register for the CJC during the Law School’s pre-registration period in the spring. Pre-registration, however, does not preclude the need to satisfy the eligibility requirements for enrollment, nor does pre-registration remove the necessity for faculty approval to enroll in the Clinic. As noted above all enrolled students must attend a mandatory multi-day orientation session held in August prior to the beginning of the regular fall semester.