Bluhm Legal Clinic Celebrates Recent Successes

December 19, 2007

Northwestern Law’s Bluhm Legal Clinic is pleased to announce that Supreme Court Clinic won its first case before the United States Supreme Court. In addition, one of the clinic’s faculty members, Jeffrey Urdangen, was recently favorably cited in a published opinion of the Appellate Court of Illinois Second District.


Supreme Court Clinic Wins Its First Case

Northwestern Law’s Supreme Court Clinic won its first case, Gall v. United States, in early December 2007. Jeff Green, adjunct professor and partner at Sidley Austin LLP, briefed and argued this case, involving clinic students every step of the way.

In the 7-2 opinion, the Supreme Court upheld a trial judge’s decision to place a reformed college drug dealer on three years’ probation instead of assigning a prison term.An appellate court had overruled the sentence, stating that the judge had not sufficiently justified the departure from the federal sentencing guidelines.The decision gives federal judges wider discretion in determining sentences, allowing the lower courts to treat the guidelines as advisory, not binding.

The Supreme Court Clinic, led by Sarah Schrup, clinical assistant professor of law and director of the Appellate Advocacy Program at Northwestern Law, was designed in conjunction with the Supreme Court practice group at Sidley Austin LLP.


Clinic Faculty Member Favorably Cited in Published Court Opinion

In People v. Lavelle Davis, the infamous lip print case, Jeffrey Urdangen, clinical assistant professor and attorney with the Bluhm Legal Clinic, testified as an expert witness on the issue of effective assistance of counsel. Urdangen opined that the trial attorney’s representation of the petitioner was below professional norms because, among other reasons, he failed to rebut the State’s specious lip print evidence. The post-conviction judge granted a new trial, and the Appellate Court of Illinois Second District just affirmed, citing Urdangen’s testimony. (Read the published opinion.)


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