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HomeClinical ProgramsCriminal Appellate Practice

The Criminal Appellate Practice clinic was a truly unforgettable experience. Students worked alongside attorneys from the State Appellate Defender Office to draft and file appellate briefs on behalf of indigent clients. Students learned how to draft persuasive yet objective statements of fact for their cases. We then spent the bulk of the semester researching and writing our legal argument. Meeting with my client not only helped me understand the issues in the case, but also motivated me to work even harder to develop the best brief possible on his behalf.
– Zoe Rasmussen, '10

Criminal Appellate Practice

Students in the Criminal Appellate Practice (CAP) clinic have the opportunity to represent convicted felons on appeal. Under the supervision of attorneys from Michigan's State Appellate Defender Office, students prepare and file briefs in the Michigan Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court, and the United States District Court. 

CAP seeks to improve students' understanding of and skill in all phases of appellate advocacy through the various activities of the clinic. Students will review trial transcripts and lower court records, interview the client in prison, develop a theory for the case, and help draft the client's brief on appeal. By determining relevant facts, navigating competing interests, conducting legal research, and developing oral and written presentations, students will gain real-world practice in criminal appellate law.

Students can expect frequent individual meetings with instructors and oral arguments before a panel of experienced criminal attorneys that offer important feedback as they prepare their client's appeals. While this clinic is most relevant to students with an interest in criminal law, its lessons in appellate advocacy are generally applicable to all students of law.

 
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