The Federal Appellate Clinic is a one-semester, four-credit course that provides upper-level students with the opportunity to plan, research, and draft federal appeals for indigent criminal defendants. The aim of the clinic is to provide advanced instruction in written advocacy, client counseling, and legal analysis.
Professor Ricardo J. Bascuas, a former Assistant Federal Public Defender, supervises each team and guides the class through the briefing process. The Federal Appellate Clinic works closely with and accepts cases only from the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. The clinic does not do any habeas work.
Pairs of students are assigned to a case and required to produce both the appellant’s initial brief and reply brief on strict deadline. Students are also responsible for corresponding with their clients. The entire class discusses all of the clinics’ cases, debates strategies, and shares research and ideas. The clinic thus functions as a small, highly collaborative law firm.
The class meets twice each week for one and a half hours.