Criminal Justice Reform Clinic

The Criminal Justice Reform Clinic offers an exciting opportunity for students to get hands-on legal experience while engaging in a critical examination of and participation in important and complex issues in the criminal justice system.


CJRC students work on a variety of case work and issues including clemency and commutation, prison litigation, immigration and refugee status, mental illness and incarceration, non-unanimous juries and removing the criminal related barriers that keep individuals in poverty.

In addition to direct client casework, students have the opportunity to advance criminal justice reform working with Professor Kaplan and in collaboration with attorneys and organizations such as the ACLU of Oregon, Disability Rights Oregon and Metropolitan Public Defender on various research and data driven projects and reports, briefs, and legislative initiatives. Clinic students conduct investigations; conduct legal/fact research and analysis; write motions, briefs and reports; interview and advise clients; attend legal and legislative meetings and hearings; and meet and participate in strategy sessions with members of the bar, the judiciary and community leaders. Experienced attorneys, former clients, and allied professionals (e.g., psychologists, legislators, law enforcement, activists), are also brought in as guest lecturers.

How to Apply

The Criminal Justice Reform Clinic is open to second and third year law students by application. There are no course prerequisites for this Clinic, but taking Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure 2 prior to or concurrently with clinic is recommended. The Clinic plans to enroll 10-12 students during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Requirements and Credit

The Criminal Justice Reform Clinic is a yearlong clinic for which students will earn 8 credits with grading on a credit/no credit basis. Students will participate in a weekly 1- hour seminar class covering substantive issues and lawyering skills. A portion of the class is designated for discussing clients and projects with the group, and reflection on various aspects of the clinic experience. Separate from the class and reflection, students are required to work at least 14 hours per week on clinic work and to meet regularly with clinic supervisors to discuss their work and progress.

Students may request permission to complete the WIE writing requirement in the CJRC.