"Professionally, the CWCY has given me extraordinary opportunities to learn from some of the best attorneys around and take on responsibilities most other law students do not. In addition to writing parts of briefs that actually were filed in court, I also participate in cases from start to finish… developing a strategy, filing pleadings, arguing motions, and everything in between."
-- Rebecca Stephens
Through a combination of coursework, which provides a practical legal foundation, and hands-on experience working on cases, students at the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (CWCY) become well-trained advocates who are fluent in the unique problems faced by innocent children in the criminal justice system. "Students participate as full partners on cases with us," explains CWCY Project Co-Director Laura Nirider. "They investigate cases, interview witnesses, and plan a litigation strategy – and then they present the client's innocence claim in court, through both written filings and oral argument." Not only do CWCY students litigate potentially life-changing motions, but they also have opportunities to advance policy reforms by writing newspaper editorials, filing amicus curie briefs, and educating decision-makers about ways to reform the system.
"Because of the nature and depth of our clinic’s focus, CWCY students graduate with a unique understanding of the criminal justice system and exceptional experience that will serve them well as attorneys," Nirider says.