Federal Appellate Clinic

LW.12822 / LW.12823
Professor Daniel S. Harawa
Open to 3L students only
Maximum of 8 students
Year-long course
14 credits*
Pre-Requisites/Co-Requisites: None. (But see "Qualifications for Applicants")


There is a justice gap in our federal courts of appeals. First, if an indigent defendant is appealing their conviction and is assigned a panel attorney, that attorney faces a strict compensation cap and must litigate with limited resources. Second, if a person is litigating a post-conviction challenge or raising a civil rights claim, they often are not entitled to representation. And while courts can appoint pro bono counsel, in many places, the need for lawyers far outweighs the lawyers available to help, leaving an indigent and often incarcerated person to litigate alone.

The Federal Appellate Clinic helps fill this gap. The Clinic accepts appointments from federal courts of appeal and referrals from civil rights organizations to represent indigent clients in criminal, habeas, and civil rights appeals. Students are expected to provide clients with the highest quality representation, engaging in client-centered appellate advocacy. Students are assigned a case at the beginning of the year, and then review the record, research the issues, and write the opening and reply briefs. If timing permits, students may also argue the case in the spring semester.

Course Description


You will be the lawyer in charge of the appeal, meaning it is your responsibility under the ethics rules to provide zealous, client-centered representation. At the beginning of the academic year, you will be assigned a case to work on with one or two other students. From there, you must review the record, identify and exhaustively research potential issues, develop a case theory and strategy, and draft the briefs. You will also be expected to involve the client in the litigation process and handle ancillary matters as they arise.


The seminar will meet weekly for two hours. The mechanics of effective appellate litigation will be one focus of the seminar. Seminars will cover: (1) the lawyering skills necessary to litigate a case on appeal, (2) substantive areas of law implicated by the appeals, and (3) brief-writing and oral advocacy skills. Seminar will also cover the structural inequities inherent in the federal appellate process.

The seminar is designed to be collaborative. Thus, there will also be weekly case rounds where you will workshop your case with your classmates. Case rounds include: (1) presenting on your case and brainstorming with your classmates on issues that may arise, (2) educating your classmates on the substantive issues in your case, and (3) editing each other’s work. Case rounds are a vital part of the clinic experience. You will be expected to engage with your classmates’ cases, and must be open to accepting feedback on your own case.

Qualifications for Applicants

Only rising 3Ls may apply for the Clinic. While there are no strict pre/co-requisites for the Clinic, preference may be given to students who have taken criminal procedure, evidence, federal courts, or any course focusing on civil rights, appellate advocacy or the appellate process.

Application Procedure

Please submit the standard clinic application, resume, and unofficial transcript, using CAMS, the online application system. There may be a remote interview depending on number of applicants.

Student Contacts

Students who are interested in learning more about the clinic may wish to speak with the following alumni who were students in the clinic:

Brennan Bartley
Tom Bowman
Daniel Cook
Pooja Goel
Jared Hirsch
Zachary Sander
Sophie Spears
Katie Zavadski

* 14 credits include 5 clinical credits and 2 academic seminar credits each semester.