Civil Litigation

Course Description

Second and Third year students will examine policy considerations and litigation strategies in the context of local civil rights litigation. Half the class will work with and represent Philadelphia police officers and other City employees in civil rights suits, while the other half will represent employees of the School District of Philadelphia. The students will examine a number of recent high profile cases litigated by the City and School District and be asked to consider the interplay of civil procedure, constitutional law, and public policy, and how these elements are used to effectuate successful results. Students will learn from instructors and guest lecturers who litigated these cases and be afforded the opportunity to discuss in an intimate setting how these attorneys approach critical litigation. Students will then apply what they learn when they are given the responsibility (under supervision) for drafting motions, preparing and responding to discovery, attending settlement conferences, and appearing before the Court or arbitration panels. By participating in every phase of litigation and learning how strategy permeates the process of litigation, students will begin to gain the practical experience that takes many attorneys years to acquire.

Course Description

Students represent SEPTA in handling its large and diversified tort case load. Students will advance their advocacy and litigation skills in preparing and presenting cases in the hearings before arbitration panels of the Court of Common Pleas. SEPTA appears both as a plaintiff when it seeks recovery for damages to its property and as a defendant when it is sued for first party or no-fault benefits, or in some instances, for third party pain and suffering. Each student will be expected to try several cases. Students are given assignments in various aspects of pretrial discovery and litigation, such as depositions, the preparation of witnesses, and the negotiation of settlements. Instruction in substantive (tort) law and procedures relevant to each trial/hearing, statutes

Required Certifications

Certification under Rules 321 and 322 of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is required.

Prerequisites

  • Law 540 Evidence (Grade of C or better)
  • Law 460 Trial Advocacy I or Law 558 Introduction to Trial Advocacy

Course Description

Students serve as lawyers in the Claims Division of the City Solicitor’s Office and are assigned cases involving a variety of tort actions filed against the City. Students are exposed to all aspects of the litigation process, including the initial responsive pleading, written discovery, deposition, pre-trial motions, municipal court and arbitration hearings. All work is supervised by an attorney. Attendance throughout the semester at a Wednesday lecture series is required.

Required Certifications

Certification under Rules 321 and 322 of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is required.

Prerequisites

  • Law 540 Evidence (Grade of C or better)
  • Law 460 Trial Advocacy I or Law 558 Introduction to Trial Advocacy

Criminal Litigation

Course Description

After an intensive orientation that includes the Philadelphia Court System as well as Pennsylvania criminal law, criminal procedure, and criminal trial practice, each student individually will represent clients at the Municipal Court level for motions, trials and/or preliminary hearings. Each of the days in court will be followed up by a classroom review of cases handled as well as discussion and informal mock trials of next week’s cases. A full day each week is spent representing the client in court followed by class. A significant amount of additional time must be spent by the student each week in preparing the case for trial. Most students in the past have felt that the heavy workload was redeemed by the wealth of experience provided by the course. Students are advised that attendance is mandatory for the first class session and a prerequisite for enrollment. Any student on the waiting list who would like to be considered for placement in the event of an opening, must attend this first class training session.

Required Certifications

Certification under Rules 321 and 322 of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is required.

Prerequisites

  • Law 532 Criminal Procedure I
  • Law 540 Evidence (Grade of C or better)
  • Law 460 Trial Advocacy I or Law 558 Introduction to Trial Advocacy

Course Description

In this live client experiential program, students will learn about federal criminal practice in The Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Through course work and working with Federal Defenders, students will write motions to suppress, conduct research and help in trial preparation for the myriad of criminal cases currently in the federal system. This program involves exposure to high profile cases within the Eastern District, direct contact with clients, court observation and analysis of topical issues in criminal justice.

Important Notes

Students may not register for both Law 717 Federal Criminal Practice: Federal Defender and Law 724 Federal Criminal Practice: United States Attorney.

Prerequisites

  • Law 532 Criminal Procedure I
  • Law 540 Evidence (Grade of C or better)
  • Law 460 Trial Advocacy I or Law 558 Introduction to Trial Advocacy

Course Description

Participants, after an intensive training period, will appear in the Philadelphia Municipal Court to handle preliminary hearings in felony cases and pretrial motions and trials in misdemeanor cases. Student experiences will be closely supervised and critically analyzed. Mock presentations and evaluations will be conducted throughout the course. Successful participants need excellent interpersonal and communication skills, flexibility and an ability to maintain their composure under stress. Students will be interacting not only with members of the judiciary before whom they appear, but also with opposing counsel, witnesses and victims of crime, some of whom may be uncooperative.

Classroom Segment

All students, regardless of which days they appear in court, must be available all day (9 am-5 pm) on the first and second Wednesday of the semester for two intensive training sessions. All students, regardless of the days they appear in court, are required to participate in a classroom component from 3-5 pm each Wednesday.

Court Assigment

Each student will have an assigned court day. Students will spend half of the semester assigned to felony preliminary hearings in the Criminal Justice Center. During the other half of the semester, students will be assigned to trial courtrooms in the Criminal Justice Center. Students must be available on their court day between 8 am and approximately 5 pm. After each court appearance, students must complete extensive paperwork. This must be done before the student leaves the office and entails approximately two hours of very careful preparation. Students cannot miss the class meeting to finish this work.

Day Preceding Court Assignment

Each student is required to be available from 3-6 pm on the afternoon preceding each day in court to review case files with their assigned supervising attorney, and to prepare police subpoenas. Students who select Thursday as their court day can meet with their supervisors after class on Wednesday. Students must be available for approximately five to six hours, after they pick up their files, to prepare their cases and interview witnesses by telephone (witnesses cannot be called after 10 pm). Students cannot schedule any classes after 3 pm on the day preceding their court day. No student is eligible to participate in the program unless he or she is fully available as set forth above. There will not be an opportunity during the first training session for students to return to campus to drop or add other classes. Students are advised to carefully review their schedules before electing this course. Students on the waiting list, who wish to be considered for placement in the event of an opening, must attend the first training session.

Important Notes

This is a very time intensive clinic. Pay particular attention to the time requirements. Students will be required to submit to a criminal record check.

Required Certifications

Certification under Rules 321 and 322 of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is required.

Prerequisites

  • Law 532 Criminal Procedure I
  • Law 540 Evidence (Grade of C or better)
  • Law 460 Trial Advocacy I or Law 558 Introduction to Trial Advocacy

Course Description

This externship will provide will provide third and fourth year evening division students with the hands on opportunity to work in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Charging Unit. In doing so, students will gain experience applying Pennsylvania law to real cases. They will have the opportunity to learn about the current review process used by the Charging Unit including the crime investigative guidelines adopted by the Philadelphia Police Department and the procedural steps followed within the Philadelphia system when a defendant is arrested. Students will also learn about identification issues as they relate to charging decisions and discuss line-ups, photo arrays and other methods of identification. Students will consider the ethical and moral issues that a prosecutor confronts in making charging decisions and consider how the admissibility of evidence should effect the decision to charge someone with a crime. Students will be responsible (under supervision) for charging decisions in misdemeanor site arrests and arrest warrants in misdemeanor cases (the Charging ADA will approve the final charges). Students will also be responsible for review and approval of search warrants. Additionally, students will conduct arraignment court and advocate on behalf of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for appropriate bail.

Prerequisites

  • Law 532 Criminal Procedure I

Course Description

This simulated course develops prosecutorial trial advocacy skills in the context of the federal criminal justice system, with emphasis on the federal criminal trial. Students will be exposed to all elements of clinical education: instruction, observation, participation, simulation, and critique, and to every stage of criminal litigation from initial court appearance to jury trials. Students will also attend a technology demonstration and training seminar on Trial Director/Sanctions or other available computer assisted litigation programs for use at trial. On many class days simulations of pretrial hearings, plea bargaining, and non-jury trials are conducted in the United States Courthouse at 6th and Market Streets. We will be working very closely with the Federal Criminal Practice Clinical Program at the Office of the Federal Defender. Instructors from both classes act as judges and critique students from both clinical programs after each simulation. Students are also given opportunities to observe actual pretrial hearings and trials in progress. Special emphasis is placed on attending opening statements and closing arguments in jury trials in a variety of federal prosecutions. The final simulation is a complete jury trial held in a courtroom of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Important Notes

Students may not register for both Law 724 Federal Criminal Practice: United States Attorney and the Law 717 Federal Criminal Practice: Federal Defender.

Prerequisites

  • Law 532 Criminal Procedure I
  • Law 540 Evidence (Grade of C or better)
  • Law 460 Trial Advocacy I or Law 558 Introduction to Trial Advocacy

Course Description

This clinical program offers students the unique opportunity to exercise their lawyering skills by reviewing and investigating actual claims of innocence on behalf of Pennsylvania inmates and, where appropriate, pursuing legal avenues for exoneration and release from prison. Each student will be assigned cases under the supervision of the Director of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project or one of the mentoring attorneys. In the course of investigating factual claims and researching legal issues, students may review criminal files, interact with investigators, contact other attorneys, interview the client and witnesses, gather documentation and prepare legal documents and memoranda. Students will have the opportunity to observe court appearances and visit Pennsylvania prisons. As a consequence of this work, students will have many opportunities to develop and hone their lawyering skills in interviewing, fact investigation, factual and legal analysis, legal writing and problem-solving. The classroom component will cover topics including the definition of a claim of innocence, investigating and raising claims of innocence under Pennsylvania law, preservation of innocence claims for federal review, post conviction discovery rules, state and federal post conviction procedures and problems, investigative techniques and skills, the nature and uses of DNA and other scientific evidence and the state and federal rules governing admissibility of such evidence. As the semester progresses, students will explore the substantive and procedural issues in the context of the actual cases on which they are working as well as discuss the ethical issues common to this areas of practice.

Learn more about the PA Innocence Project

Important Notes

This can be a time intensive clinic that may require your availability at irregular hours. You must be available for the full day on Wednesdays.

Prerequisites

  • Law 532 Criminal Procedure I
  • Law 540 Evidence (Grade of C or better)

Hybrid

Course Description

This clinical course is designed for students with a sincere commitment to LGBT equality, direct legal service and public interest work. The clinical helps students develop an understanding of the interaction between sexual orientation, gender identity, and the law through a combination of direct service, legal research and public education. Students will gain familiarity with a wide variety of legal issues, including, but not limited to, the following: discrimination in employment, education, housing, and public accommodations; family law, including marriage and marital equivalents, custody, support, adoption and dissolution; criminal law, including hate crimes, police misconduct, prisoners’ rights, and failure to protect; youth law; and advance planning as a means to securing legal protections for the family units formed by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. Students will work closely with attorneys on a wide variety of cases, some of which involve precedent-setting legal issues.

Non-Litigation

Course Description

This clinical program offers students the unique opportunity to provide general legal representation to small and start-up business owners in Pennsylvania area through the Small Business Development Center, a department in Temple’s School of Business and Management. Students are expected to deal with a full range of small business legal problems which may include choice of business entity and entity formation, contracts, corporations, leases, franchise agreements, regulatory matters, intellectual property and environmental compliance, among others. Students deal directly with clients. Students must be comfortable communicating by e-mail. Time is spent on legal research, drafting, client meetings, and classroom seminars on various issues of business law and practice. Every student must produce a written work-product for assigned clients to obtain credit.

Prerequisites

  • Law 508 Corporations
  • Law 600 Taxation

Course Description

Students will have the opportunity to assist in the Supervision to Aid Reentry Court (STAR) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The STAR program assists previously incarcerated federal prisoners to successfully reenter the community. Federal judges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Defender’s Office, the U.S. Probation Office, the Reentry Coordinator, and the Legal Intern Coordinator work together as a team to discuss each participant’s progress and develop plans to help participants succeed. Some of the legal issues that students will work on include: challenging arrears accrued on child support orders while incarcerated, adjusting child support payments, assisting participants in overcoming barriers to employment such as help obtaining occupational licenses, challenging traffic violations, and screening and registering participants for benefits. The bulk of in-court student representation takes place in Traffic Court.Students will participate in either Morning or Afternoon Reentry Court. Morning occurs every other Tuesday from 9 am to 11:15 am. Afternoon occurs every other Wednesday from 3 pm to 6 pm. In addition to engaging in experiential learning, students will also attend a seminar held on every other Wednesday at 5 pm to 7 pm.In the seminar, students will consider topics that include mass incarceration, collateral consequences of incarceration, and restorative justice. Students will represent participants in legal matters, and may also write position papers and give presentations on the broader issues associated with reentry.

Prerequisites

  • LAW 0460 (Trial Advocacy I ) or LAW 0558 (Introduction to Trial Advocacy)
  • LAW 0540 (Evidence) (C or better)

Mediation

Course Description

Students who have successfully completed the Philadelphia Housing Court Clinic are eligible to participate in the Small Claims Mediation Clinic. During the course of the semester, students serve as official court mediators for a variety of civil cases which fall within the jurisdiction of the Municipal Court of Philadelphia. Cases will be assigned prior to the mediation date to ensure that the relevant substantive law may be discussed with the instructors. These substantive areas include consumer and real estate transactions, contract and performance of service issues, property damage, and debt collection cases. Students will also have the opportunity to mediate minor criminal cases (private criminal complaints) during this clinical. Necessary training on these cases will be provided. Students are expected to become familiar with the court procedures involved in the handling of mediation cases. Instructors will be available for individualized case consultation, review and analysis both before and after the mediation sessions. Because of the nature and scheduling of these cases, some students will be required to serve as mediators on mornings or afternoons other than Friday. Regardless of the sessions when students are assigned cases to mediate, several Friday afternoon group sessions will be required.

Important Notes

Because completion of the Philadelphia Housing Court clinical is required, enrollment is limited to those students who have taken the prerequisite either during the prior Spring or Fall Semester. Students who have not completed the Housing Court Clinical will not be permitted to take the Small Claims Mediation Clinical under any circumstances.

Prerequisites

  • Law 731 Philadelphia Housing Court

Course Description

This course calls for students to serve as court appointed mediators to assist landlords and tenants in resolving their disputes under the auspices of the Municipal Court of Philadelphia. After an intensive training program which will encompass both Landlord/Tenant Law and the mediation process, the mediator will meet with the parties and guide the discussion, clarify legal questions and possibly generate options for resolution of dispute.