“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 it actually took me to Montgomery, Alabama, where the training and mentoring that I received from the clinic were integral to my practice in capital appeals at the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama. . . .The work I did there 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 for practice and allowed me to assume greater responsibilities early in my legal career.”
—Samson Asiyanbi ’08, Attorney and Former Fellow, Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama
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 gather life history documents, interview witnesses, and collaborate with experienced capital investigators and a variety of forensic experts. They research and draft pleadings addressing the legal claims in courts ranging from the state trial courts to the United States Supreme Court. After investigating facts and marshaling legal claims in jurisdictions as diverse as Alabama, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and Virginia, capital punishment is never again an abstract concept for our students.