Criminal and Juvenile Justice Law Clinic
Students in the USF School of Law Criminal and Juvenile Justice Law Clinic get hands-on experience in criminal trial practice while ensuring access to justice for those who need it most.
In the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Law Clinic (CJJC), second- and third-year students represent people charged with misdemeanor offenses in San Francisco Superior Court. In addition, the clinic partners with the nonprofit Restore Justice to represent San Quentin State Prison inmates who were incarcerated for crimes they committed as teenagers and are now eligible for parole.
Under the direct supervision of USF law professions, the students handle nearly all aspects of a client’s case, including client and witness interviews, investigations, court appearances, client counseling, motions practice, suppression hearings, motion to return property hearings, trials, appeals, and writs of mandate.
Students attend a weekly seminar together with students in the Racial Justice Clinic. In the seminar, students learn the skills necessary to defend a criminal case from investigation to closing argument. The seminar also features guest speakers, including public defenders, private defense counsel, prosecutors, judges, and community advocates, all of whom share their expertise and engage in a discussion with the students.
The most rewarding part of working in the clinic was the amount of real experience we gained from working on cases from beginning to end, from interviewing the client to writing the motions and arguing them in court. The most challenging part was that I was in court for the first time, but Professor Bazelon was there for every step of the way. This experience confirmed that I am capable of litigation, something I didn't think I would like, but now have found that I am suited for it and look forward to progressing further in criminal defense or my other interest, family law.
-Robyn Hall ’18
Associate Professor Lara Bazelon is director of the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Law Clinic and the Racial Justice Clinic at the USF School of Law. From 2012-2015, she was a visiting associate clinical professor at Loyola Law School and the director of the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent. Professor Bazelon was a trial attorney in the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Los Angeles for seven years. Prior to that, she was a law clerk for the Honorable Harry Pregerson on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Adjunct Professor Kate L. Chatfield is the co-founder and policy director of Re:store Justice, an organization dedicated to criminal justice reform in California. Professor Chatfield wrote SB 1437, a bill to amend the felony murder rule in California, which passed out of the California Senate with a super-majority vote in May 2018. Prior to Re:store Justice, she was a practicing criminal defense attorney for 10 years, working in private practice and at the Office of the State Public Defender. Kate is a USF School of Law graduate, where she started in the part-time program when her children were 3 and 6 years old.
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