Ninth Circuit Practicum

2024-2025 Applications

Applications for the Ninth Circuit Practicum are due by 12:00 pm on Monday, April 8, 2024.

Submit your application.

Nicole Conrad ’22, Ninth Circuit Practicum supervisor Amalia Wille, and Joya Manjur ’22 after their April argument before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Nicole Conrad ’22, Ninth Circuit Practicum supervisor Amalia Wille, and Joya Manjur ’22 after their April argument before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Read about this immigration case.

The Ninth Circuit Practicum provides students an intense and rewarding experience in appellate advocacy. Students brief and argue cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on behalf of clients who would otherwise not have legal representation. Students also learn key aspects of federal law and appellate practice.

Working in collaboration with the Ninth Circuit’s Pro Bono Program, members of the Practicum brief and argue four appeals during the academic year. These most likely will be immigration or civil rights cases, though we will not know the cases and clients until this summer. Students work in teams of two on a strict schedule. A faculty supervisor — which may include a practicing appellate attorney — oversees each team and case, though the teams also collaborate with each other.

Practicum Timeline

This is a demanding, year-long program. Most teams begin their record review and initial research in the summer, prior to the formal start of the semester. Students work very hard early in the fall semester to complete their review of the record, master the relevant authorities, and prepare the opening brief. The work is uneven in the spring semester given the timing of the reply brief and argument. 

We expect to file opening briefs in October, and reply briefs in the following February. The cases may culminate in an oral argument in April. Students will argue under faculty supervision unless the case is settled or remanded earlier. Because of this schedule, the Practicum is a two-semester experience.


Students must devote the necessary amount of time to these cases on this schedule. As a result, they may not concurrently enroll in another clinic, field placement, practicum, Appellate Advocacy, or other course or program with a competing commitment.

Because of the needs of the clients, we cannot guarantee that the briefing will follow this schedule or that every case will be fully litigated or argued. We will do what is best for the clients, and that might mean settling or mediating a case. It is possible that the court or the Practicum will need to alter the briefing or argument schedule. But we select cases anticipating that they will be litigated during the academic year.

Claire Weintraub '23 (left) and Natalie Kaliss '23
Claire Weintraub ’23 (left) and Natalie Kaliss ’23 after their oral argument at the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Read about the case. Photo by Shelby Knowles

The Practicum requires students to enroll in an accompanying seminar in both the fall and spring semesters. The seminar introduces the substantive and procedural federal law involved in the Practicum’s appeals and techniques of appellate advocacy. The seminar also serves as a forum to workshop the cases and strategies. We frontload the learning. Students must attend an all-day, in-person seminar meeting on the Saturday before the first week of class. The seminar will meet less frequently in the fall after the opening brief is filed and in the spring after oral argument.

  • Fall Semester: 6 units (4 unit Practicum + 2 unit Seminar)
  • Spring Semester: 5 units (4 unit Practicum + 1 unit Seminar)


Admission to the Practicum and the co-requisite seminar is by application only. The Ninth Circuit requires that a student have completed two thirds of their law school training to practice before the Court. As a result, we will consider applications only from rising third-year J.D. students. Typically, the Practicum conducts information sessions in the week immediately following spring break. The application is due shortly thereafter. (Only one application is required for both the seminar and clinic components.) We interview applicants and aim to make decisions prior to the exam period, so that students know their schedule and can focus on their studies.

Ninth Circuit Practicum News

Contact Us

Please email William Fernholz ( or Judah Lakin ( with any questions you may have about the practicum.