Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Youth Offender Parole Hearing Clinic

680YP | 2.0 credits


This clinic will provide students with the opportunity to thoroughly research and prepare a case for a Youth Offender Parole Hearing. Students will develop practical research, writing, and oral advocacy skills while learning more about the substantive areas of criminal sentencing, juvenile justice, and post-conviction law. The professor, a licensed California attorney, will be the pro bono attorney of record for these cases. Each student will be matched with one case. Under the professor’s supervision, each student enrolled in this course will prepare a written brief in preparation for a parole hearing.

At the beginning of the semester, students will meet with the professor for an orientation that provides an introduction to the substantive area of the law, as well as to the procedures for preparing a case. In an effort to show students what they are working towards, the professor will schedule a group visit to a prison to observe several parole hearings. After this initial group visit, students will visit their clients independently to conduct an initial interview.

Students will be required to meet periodically with the professor to discuss case preparation. Preparation for each case will typically involve obtaining and reviewing trial court transcripts, appellate court cases, transcripts from previous parole hearings, and prison records. Depending on the case, students may also interview witnesses. Each student will draft a professional quality brief based on his or her legal research, review of records, and interviews.

Ideally, students will also attend the parole hearing with the professor. Students may be allowed to argue the case if they become certified law clerks and receive approval from the professor. Efforts will be made to select cases that will go to hearing during the semester the student is enrolled in the clinic. In the event that the hearing occurs after the end of the semester, students will be offered the opportunity to attend and/or argue at the parole hearing; but this will not be required. The professor will take over complete responsibility for the case once the semester is complete.

Students must apply to enroll in the Youth Offender Parole Hearing Practicum by completing an application in advance of a fall or spring deadline to be determined by the course professor.