Death Penalty Clinic

"I joined the Death Penalty Clinic in my third year, and, like most of my peers, the journey was supposed to last only a year. But now it has taken me to Montgomery, Alabama, where the training and mentoring that I received from the clinic are integral to my practice in capital appeals. I am now an attorney at the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama. . . .The work I do would have been impossible but for the clinic’s commitment to me as a student and investment in my development as a future attorney. The clinic, more than any other law school experience, prepared me forpractice and allowed me to assume greater responsibilities early in my legal career."

—Samson Asiyanbi ’08, Attorney and Fellow, Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama

 Working under the direct supervision of clinical faculty, Death Penalty Clinic students at Berkeley Law learn first-hand the responsibility and skills required to defend those facing our legal system’s greatest punishment.  Students develop relationships with their clients, gather life history documents, interview witnesses, and work with experienced capital investigators and a variety of forensic experts. They also research and draft pleadings addressing the legal claims in courts ranging from the state trial courts to the United States Supreme Courts in jurisdictions as diverse as California, Virginia, Texas, and Alabama.  Capital punishment is never again an abstract concept for our students, as they establish relationships of trust with their death-sentenced clients, investigate the facts of their cases, and marshal their legal claims.