Frequently Asked Questions –
Below you will find answers to many of the questions you may have about participating in the Wrongful Conviction Clinic.
- Who is eligible to participate in the Wrongful Conviction Clinic?
- What is the application process for the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
- What is the student selection criteria for the Wrongful Conviction Clinic?
- How many students can enroll in the Wrongful Conviction Clinic?
- What kind of work do students do in the Wrongful Conviction Clinic?
- How many hours must students devote to the Wrongful Conviction Clinic for the semester?
- Are there any special scheduling requirements for the Wrongful Conviction Clinic?
- Are there any special costs associated with taking the Wrongful Conviction Clinic?
- What is the dress code for the Wrongful Conviction Clinic?
- Will I be required to provide my own transportation to meet clients at the prisons?
- How can I get answers to additional questions I have about the clinic?
Who is eligible to participate in the Wrongful Conviction Clinic?
The clinic is open to third-year students. Qualified third year students are certified to practice law pursuant to Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XX and provide direct assistance of cases at the Innocence Project New Orleans.
What is the application process for the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
Students wishing to enroll in the Wrongful Conviction Clinic must apply through the uniform application process for all clinics and field placements. In the joint application, students will be asked to rank their clinic and field placement preferences, provide a résumé, and answer questions regarding relevant experiences and interests in their selections. The online application form will be made available on the website once the application period opens. Please note that the application period begins and ends several weeks prior to the registration period for all other classes. As a result, interested students should plan ahead and keep an eye out for e-mails and announcements regarding the clinics and field placements application period each semester. A phone or in-person interview may be required depending on the number of applicants.
What is the student selection criteria for the Wrongful Conviction Clinic?
Although the high level of interest generally necessitates a competitive selection process, there is no set criteria for a successful candidate other than a demonstrated commitment to hard work and professionalism. In fact, clinic faculty make a concerted effort to select students with diverse experiences, backgrounds, perspectives, and interests in order to create a rich learning experience for all participants.
What kind of work do students do in the Wrongful Conviction Clinic?
Students will learn about the causes and remedies of wrongful convictions, post-conviction and habeas practice, and essential lawyering skills through direct assistance of cases at the Innocence Project New Orleans. The course will be housed in the LSU Law Clinic and is a collaboration between the LSU Law Center and the Innocence Project New Orleans. Student case work includes investigating claims of innocence, searching for evidence to be DNA tested, and litigating post-conviction petitions under intensive faculty supervision. All that you learn in your experiences in the Wrongful Conviction Clinic will teach you effective lawyering skills regardless of the area of practice you enter upon graduation. You will learn fact investigation, client interviewing and counseling, legal research, document and evidence review, drafting pleadings and motions, and written and oral advocacy.
How many hours must students devote to the Wrongful Conviction Clinic for the semester?
Students are required to devote a minimum of 135 hours to the clinic over the course of the semester. These hours include time for ALL clinic work; e.g., attending class, interviewing clients, preparing briefs, interviewing witnesses, research, fact investigation, weekly supervision meetings, etc. In order to track time spent on clinic activities, student attorneys submit weekly time sheets.
Are there any special scheduling requirements for the Wrongful Conviction Clinic?
Check the course schedule for the day and time of the weekly class meeting. Classes are scheduled at the Law Center. Students may be required to attend a pre-semester orientation that will not conflict with any other course-related activities. Client visits and all other clinic work can be scheduled at times that do not conflict with students’ other courses, however, court appearances may be scheduled at times that do conflict with students’ schedules. This is unavoidable, and, if this occurs, the student will have to miss the conflicting class in order to attend. Therefore, clinic students are encouraged to manage their allowed absences in other courses prudently.
What is the dress code for the Wrongful Conviction Clinic?
For the class sessions at the Law Center, students can wear whatever they normally wear to their other classes. For appearances before the court, students are required to wear a suit or dress clothes suitable for a courtroom. For client visits, students do not need to wear a suit, but should dress professionally.
Will I be required to provide my own transportation to meet clients at the prisons?
No, in most cases. The usual practice is that you will be accompanied by your supervising attorney and by your classmates and your supervising attorney will provide transportation. There are rare circumstances when faculty may not be available to transport students. In those cases, alternatives will be provided and/or students driving personal vehicles will receive mileage reimbursement.
How can I get answers to additional questions I have about the clinic?
You can contact Professor Robert Lancaster directly with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org