« The Audience for Law School Events | Main | What are the best (and worst) law review websites? »

September 16, 2011

The Newest Clinic

This semester, I'm doing two unusual things.

First, though I am not a clinical professor, I am starting a clinic here at St. Thomas.  My colleagues and dean have been totally supportive of this transgression of boundaries, and it makes me wonder why we have them so firmly planted in the first place.  My scholarship is in the field of sentencing, and a clinic allows me to extend that scholarship to the real world in a very direct way. 

Second, the clinic itself is unique.  Along with Doug Berman, Margaret Colgate Love, and others, I began discussions a few years ago, focusing on the President's pardon power and how we might work to restore it to a functioning role in the criminal justice system.  As part of that project, I have begun a federal commutation clinic here, where students  will work with clients to prepare petitions for early release.  It's a great task for students, since there is no judicial proceeding to foul up timing, and the core of the job is discerning and describing a compelling narrative-- the same task that is at the core of most  criminal law jobs.

I'll report back as the project continues.

-- Mark Osler




September 16, 2011 | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Newest Clinic:


You clinic sounds amazing, Mark, and I want to hear not only about how it works going forward, but also about the process of getting it started. Did you want/need/request funds from your Dean? How about support staff? Did students help with the planning?

I could go on and on with questions -- in part because I have often thought of trying to start a new clinic, but am unsure of how to get started. Perhaps you can/will do a post soon with advice for starting a clinic... Or perhaps I should do my own post "blegging" for advice on starting a clinic.

Posted by: Doug B. | Sep 19, 2011 1:55:59 PM

I wish you the best of luck

Posted by: Raleigh Domestic Violence Lawyers | Sep 19, 2011 3:00:39 PM

Your clinic sounds really innovative, Mark. What a great way for students to learn about the law, but also its relation to public policy.

Posted by: Anupam Chander | Sep 23, 2011 7:33:16 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.