Criminal Defense Advocacy
From the first meeting with the client, the lawyer is presented with the delicate, but critical, task of developing a relationship of trust. A deficient attorney-client relationship can significantly hinder the defense. From that point on, many skills and abilities must be brought to bear. The lawyer must possess an acute ability to analyze a case, from the statutory basis of the alleged crime, to the strategic and tactical decisions that result in a theory of defense. In addition, the lawyer must understand the complex technical aspects of a criminal proceeding, from the proper initiation of a criminal complaint to the fundamental constitutional principles that act as a shield protecting the individual from the overwhelming power of the state.
Participants in this clinic will also explore how the art of storytelling will make the theory of defense live in the mind of the decision-maker, whether it be prosecutor, judge or juror, and dramatically increase its persuasiveness. To make the client’s story compelling, the lawyer needs to find his or her unique voice, grounded in the authenticity that flows from understanding the client and having faith in one’s own abilities.
Each student’s performance will be assessed by the effort expended attempting to master the many aspects of the art of criminal defense. The expectation will be that students challenge themselves to explore their strengths and their weaknesses in order to emerge from the clinic a more effective advocate. Aside from class time, the clinic will operate much like a law office to provide a supportive environment conducive to attending to the all the demands placed on the practitioner in the art of criminal defense.
For more information, contact:
Jessica Hedges and Leonard Milligan, Instructors