William and Mary Law School

Innocence Project Clinic

Students in the Innocence Project Clinic participate in the legal investigation and research of inmate claims of actual innocence. Using primary sources including police and forensic reports, court pleadings, transcripts, appellate briefs and opinions, students research and prepare written summaries of the cases referred to the Clinic by the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project (MAIP), and their analysis of cases are used as a basis for MAIP to determine which cases to undertake.

Students conduct interviews of inmates and possible witnesses, as well as other preparatory case work with private investigators, forensics experts and attorneys. The Clinic's focus includes DNA evidence, investigative activities, and post-conviction remedies and procedures, with in-class simulations. Third-year practice required.

Quotations from Innocence Project Clinic students:

"I think it is a really worthwhile and wonderful cause. Interacting with the clients and their families was very heartwarming and I really enjoyed being able to speak with them."

"The speakers added considerably to the learning experience. Additionally, being able to work on "real" work was a great opportunity."

"It was eye-opening. There are so many people out there who claim innocence, and a lot of them actually have a valid claim. And the system just says NO constantly to them."

"The course gave me an opportunity to engage in hands-on investigations. Investigation is an important part of what many lawyers do and we do not have much opportunity to learn from it in law school."

"Enjoyed having the opportunity to work one on one with clients. This helped me get a better idea of what it would be like to be a defense attorney."