William and Mary Law School

Students

Joining the Clinic

The Appellate and Supreme Court Clinic I and II occur over both semesters of a student’s third-year. Enrolled students are introduced to appellate practice in the federal Courts of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Students work in teams to identify cases suitable for the clinic and then work as pairs to prepare appellate briefs in cases involving the First and Fourth Amendments. Students prepare briefs on the merits, amicus briefs, petitions for rehearing or certiorari, appendices, and other appellate filings. For cases in the federal courts of appeals, students present oral argument when the court allows and it is otherwise appropriate.

Student Perspectives

"My experience in the appellate clinic has been both personally and professionally rewarding. Students undertake significant responsibility on real-life cases with actual consequences. Indeed, we're advocating for more than a grade--we're advocating for a client and the development of the law.  Assisting with preparations before a federal circuit court of appeals was incredibly exciting--but also nerve-racking! In short, the Clinic is an invaluable opportunity to gain experience in appellate practice that would ordinarily take years to develop."

- Andrew Steinberg, '14

"The Appellate Clinic taught me how to be a better legal writer, how to organize and draft an appellate brief, and how to prepare for and deliver oral arguments for appeal. The things I learned in the Clinic also laid the foundation for me to continue to learn even now that I'm no longer in school.  For example, part of my job requries me to sort through hundreds of pages of briefs per court session.  During this process, I can identify and pick out those well-crafted appellate briefs because of the techniques and strategies of appellate advocacy that I learned in the Clinic.  This provides me with the ability to discern between real-life examples of good and bad lawyering, thereby allowing me to learn on the job what to do (and more importantly, what not to do) for that time in the future when I actually advocate for clients of my own."

- Travis Gunn, '13