Sixth Circuit Clinic

In the Sixth Circuit Clinic, law students handle appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and other state and federal appellate courts.  Working closely with experienced appellate attorneys, students analyze the lower court record to find issues, engage in factual and legal research to decide the viability of those issues, discuss those issues with the client, and then write first, second, and third drafts of the appellate brief.  All students will participate in mock oral argument in a Sixth Circuit courtroom at the end of each semester.  Sometimes students get to argue the appeal before the Sixth Circuit.  The Clinic is located at the officers of Squire Patton Boggs in downtown Cincinnati, and is directed by Colter Paulson of Squire Patton Boggs and Nathan Colvin of Fifth Third Bank. 

The Sixth Circuit Clinic provides a unique perspective on appellate practice and the experience, joys, and frustrations of working for real clients in real cases.  The Clinic provides top-notch representation to those that cannot afford a lawyer, while preparing students with the knowledge and skill to handle their own appeals, and particularly to be ready to accept appointed appeals from state or federal appellate courts.  Many former students have done so, and many others have found appellate clerkships or are now in civil or criminal appellate positions around the country.

The Clinic works on both criminal and civil appeals and each type of appeal will get significant classroom discussion time.  Students should expect two hours in the classroom each week, split between learning about appellate law and practice and discussions working through the issues in the appeals.  The Clinic also expects students to collaborate together on all aspects of the class—research and writing is a team effort.  The Clinic also accepts students from Chase Law School, who will work together with our University of Cincinnati law students.  The Clinic often hosts guest speakers, which in the past have included Sixth Circuit judges, Sixth Circuit Clerks, Ohio First District Court of Appeals judges, U.S. Attorneys, and others. 

Since 2003, the Clinic has represented clients in dozens of appeals including many habeas and direct criminal appeals in the Sixth Circuit, appeals in civil rights cases, amicus briefs to the Ohio Supreme Court, Sixth Circuit, and U.S. Supreme Courts, appeals in other state courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals.  The Clinic has an incredible record of success, winning in more than half of its appeals (appellants generally win about 10% of the time), resulting in new trials, shorter sentences, the opportunity to try civil cases before a jury, among others.  This includes wins after prior counsel filed an Anders brief, overturning a life sentence on habeas where the prosecutor used perjured testimony to obtain a murder conviction, a win on qualified immunity when police beat innocent bystanders, and remands for resentencing.