Law Schedule of Classes

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243.7A sec. 001 - 9th Circuit Practicum (Fall 2020)

Instructor: William H. D. Fernholz  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
Instructor: Judah Lakin  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only)
Instructor: Amalia Wille  
Instructor: Susan Yorke  
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 4
Grading Designation: Credit Only

Due to COVID-19, this class is remote for Fall 2020.
Mode of Instruction: Remote Instruction

Course Start: August 17, 2020
Course End: November 24, 2020

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 6
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 6
As of: 12/07 09:41 AM

The Ninth Circuit Practicum will provide students an intense experience in appellate advocacy. Students will brief and potentially 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 will also learn aspects of federal law and appellate practice.

Working in collaboration with the Ninth Circuit’s Pro Bono Program, the Practicum will brief and possibly argue three appeals during the academic year. These will most likely be immigration cases, though the Practicum will not know the cases and clients until this summer. Students will work in teams of two on a strict schedule. We expect to file opening briefs in October, and reply briefs in early 2021. The cases may be set for argument in April or May, and some students may argue under faculty supervision. Because of this schedule, the Practicum is a two-semester experience.

This will be a demanding course. Students will work very hard early in the Fall semester to master the cases and prepare the opening briefs. The work will also be uneven in the Spring semester given the timing of the reply briefs and arguments. Students must devote the necessary amount of time to these cases on this schedule, so they should not be concurrently enrolled in another clinic, field placement or practicum, Appellate Advocacy, or other course with a competing commitment. Each team and case will have a primary faculty supervisor - either Professor Fernholz or an adjunct faculty member - though the teams will also collaborate with each other.

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 Practicum will need to alter the briefing or argument schedule. But we will select cases with the anticipation that they will be handled during the academic year.

Course Applications:
Admission to the Practicum Clinic 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 in order to practice before the Court. As a result, we will consider applications only from rising third-year students. Please apply for the course through our online application. The APPLICATION DEADLINE is April 17, 2020. (Only one application is required for both the seminar and clinic components.) We hope to make offers of admission on May 1st.

The Ninth Circuit Practicum requires students to enroll in both the Practicum and Seminar for the entire academic year. The Fall Seminar is limited to students who are accepted for enrollment in the Practicum for academic year 2020-21. Accepted students will enroll in the Advanced Practicum and Advanced Seminar in Spring 2020 at the appropriate time.

Attendance Requirement
Full attendance at each seminar session and full participation in the clinical portion is mandatory to receive credit for this course.

An information session was held on April 14th. Contact William Fernholz ( for the link to a videorecording of that session.

Due to the nature of this class, some or all of the sessions may not be recorded and posted except as required for accommodation of students with disabilities.

Due to the nature of this class, real-time attendance is required (without an alternative way to earn equivalent credit) except in cases of illness or emergency.

Real-time attendance at the first Zoom 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 or have prior permission of the instructor in order not to be dropped.

The 9th Circuit Practicum Seminar (Law 243.7) is a co-requisite.

Requirements Satisfaction:

This class may be counted as either an Option 1 class (two Option 1 classes satisfy the J.D. writing requirement) or units from this class may count toward the J.D. Experiential Requirement. This class may count for both requirements if and only if a student is electing Option 1 and the student's other Option 1 class being used to satisfy the J.D. writing requirement is not being counted towards any other requirement.

Student Services is available to answer questions.

Exam Notes: (None) Class requires a series of papers, assignments, or presentations throughout the semester
Course Category: Litigation and Procedure
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Public Law and Policy
Social Justice and Public Interest

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