Criminal Appeals Clinic
The Criminal Appeals Program offers advanced appellate training in the highly specialized area of appellate advocacy skills and provides third-year students with practical experience in criminal law and procedure. The students represent indigent persons as counsel of record in Mississippi appellate courts. The clinic also provides students with classroom instruction on the essential components of criminal appellate practice, including the review of trial documents, exhibits, and transcripts; development of the facts of the case; evaluation of the issues and research of legal arguments; instruction in the “fact-centered” method of brief-writing; and the presentation of oral arguments.
Many of my students who pass through the Criminal Appeals Clinic compare their experience to an apprenticeship, although they never use that word. They regard the clinical course of study as a professional relationship that is more collaborative than competitive, and this view changes their focus to problem-solving through communication with the case team. The opportunity to teach, support, and mentor has lead me to believe the clinical dynamic guides them to a shorter transition time from being a law student to becoming a lawyer.