Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

231.5 sec. 001 - California Prisons and Discretionary Parole (Spring 2020)

Instructor: Keith Wattley  
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 1

Due to COVID-19, law school classes were graded as credit/no pass in spring 2020.


    M 6:25 PM - 8:15 PM
    Location: Law 244
    From January 13, 2020
    To March 09, 2020

Course Start: January 13, 2020
Course End: March 09, 2020
Class Number (1Ls): 31930
Class Number: 31930

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 10
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 15
As of: 06/16 11:02 PM

This is a one-unit course through which students learn a variety of practical legal skills while also learning how to advocate for indigent California prisoners. Students interact with prisoners' rights attorneys, prison experts, prison workers and people who are currently and formerly incarcerated. They also complete reading and writing assignments exposing them to the constantly-changing legal landscape of life inside California’s prison system.

Students will develop skills in working with clients from diverse backgrounds; document review and synthesis; and counseling clients preparing for administrative proceedings. Students are graded on a credit/no-credit basis, as determined by class participation and completion of several writing assignments, which may include: legal counseling memoranda and reflection memoranda following prison tours and observations of parole consideration hearings.

While not required, this course complements Berkeley Law’s Post-Conviction Advocacy Project (P-CAP), a student-initiated legal services project. P-CAP participants conduct in-depth, one-on-one meetings with clients housed at San Quentin and other prisons. They also interact with individuals and organizations in the community (e.g., family members of incarcerated persons, community service providers, etc.) to help clients develop residential, employment and after-care plans to address long-standing issues that contributed to past criminality. Students' P-CAP participation culminates in their appearance as certified law students representing clients appearing before the California parole board.

Course Instructor Keith Wattley is the Founder and Executive Director of UnCommon Law, a nonprofit law firm that provides counseling and legal services to California prisoners serving life sentences. He is currently involved in a two-year Fellowship with the Obama Foundation, which is helping bring UnCommon Law's work to scale. Prior to launching UnCommon Law in 2006, Keith was a staff attorney at the Prison Law Office, a nonprofit law firm in Berkeley. He has represented thousands of prisoners in impact litigation and individual matters. He has also trained hundreds of lawyers, law students and others in prisoner and parole advocacy. Keith supervises the Post-Conviction Advocacy Project at UC Berkeley School of Law and received the Law School's 2016 Kathi Pugh Award for Exceptional Mentorship.

Attendance at the first class is mandatory for all currently enrolled and waitlisted students; any currently enrolled or waitlisted students who are not present on the first day of class (without prior permission of the instructor) will be dropped. The instructor will continue to take attendance throughout the add/drop period and anyone who moves off the waitlist into the class must continue to attend in order not to be dropped.

Requirements Satisfaction:

Units from this class count towards the J.D. Experiential Requirement.

Exam Notes: (P) Final paper  
This is a credit only course
Course Category: Criminal Law
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Social Justice and Public Interest

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Instructor has indicated that no books will be assigned.

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