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Federal Litigation Clinic

The Federal Litigation Clinic focuses on the litigation of actual cases pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Most of the cases involve the representation of inmates in cases that the federal courts have identified as potentially meritorious. The representation will be undertaken pursuant to the courts' student practice rules, with the consent of the clients, and subject to the supervision of an experienced attorney.

Students who participate have a strong interest in constitutional law, criminal law, and federal civil and appellate procedure. The clinic involves an average workload of ten hours per week but this may be concentrated into certain portions of the semester based on court deadlines.

Students Participate in Jury Trial in Federal Court - Spring 2014

Students in the Federal Litigation Clinic will participate in a jury trial in federal court in May 2014. This is a rare event for most young practicing lawyers, and an almost unprecedented experience for law students. Working under the direction of supervising attorneys Adrian Roe and Sam Simon and Professor Steven Baicker-McKee, the students are handling every aspect of this prisoner civil rights case, including jury selection, opening arguments, witness examination and cross-examination, and closings. This is a prime example of Duquesne Law's emphasis on practical, skills-based, experiential learning.

Photo from left: Ruben Cruz, Ernest Sharif, Andrew Lombardo, Sarah Kleinman, Michael Paich, Lauren Sullivan, Professor Steven Baicker-McKee, and Emilia Rinaldi. Missing from photo: Brittany Kriebel

Oral Arguments - Spring 2013

Three Duquesne University School of Law students argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in May 2013. Stephanie Noel, a third-year student, and Jesse Drumm, a second-year student, appeared on May 14 and argued in Verde-Rodriguez v. Faber, an immigration case. Charles P. Sapienza, III, a third-year evening student, appeared on May 15 and argued in Washington v. Secretary, PA Department of Corrections, a criminal case.

The three were part of Duquesne's Federal Litigation Clinic.

In the first case, Verde, the petitioner is a Mexican immigrant who became a lawful permanent resident of the United States in 1990, later amassed several DUI convictions, and was deported under a since-repudiated interpretation of DUI as a "crime of violence."

In the second case, Washington, the petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus in the United District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which underlies the instant appeal, contending that his Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause rights were violated when the trial court admitted a redacted statement. District Judge Robreno agreed, and granted Washington's petition, holding that the admission of the statement was a violation of Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment under Bruton v. U.S., 391 U.S. 123 (1968).

Other students participating in the Federal Litigation Clinic during the academic year include Amy Coleman, a second-year student, David M. McCleary, a third-year student, Jason McConnell, a third-year student, Michael F. Niznik, Jr., a third-year student, and Massimo Terzigni, a third-year student.

Adjunct Professors Adrian N. Roe, Esq., and Samuel H. Simon, Esq., supervise the students in the Federal Litigation Clinic. Associate Professor Laurie B. Serafino directs the Clinical Legal Education program, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Law Tracey McCants Lewis serves as assistant director.

Duquesne's Federal Litigation Clinic Wins Case

Duquesne University's Clinical Legal Education Program celebrated an important victory Aug. 9 when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a precedential opinion affirming the grant of habeas relief to a client of the program, James Washington. Charles P. Sapienza, III, now a fourth-year evening student, argued the case in the Pittsburgh federal courthouse on May 15.

Read the Duquesne University press release.

Photo from left: Charles Sapienza III, Dean Ken Gormley, Stephanie Noel, Jesse Drumm, Supervising Attorney Adrian Roe and Clinical Legal Education Director Laurie Serafino.