The Mandel Legal Aid Clinic is proud to announce the creation of a new clinical opportunity, the Federal Criminal Justice Project (FCJP). FCJP will be led by Director Alison Siegler, formerly an attorney with the Federal Defender Program and instructor of Federal Sentencing course here at the Law School.
The primary mission of the FCJP is to zealously represent indigent defendants charged with federal crimes while giving students a unique opportunity to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The FCJP will represent clients from arrest through trial/plea bargaining and sentencing and will also represent clients on appeal. Students will be assigned to cases in teams of two and among their responsibilities will be interviewing of clients and witnesses; conducting and participating in bond hearings, preliminary hearings, arraignments, plea and sentencing hearings, and trials; preparing and filing written motions; negotiating withe the United States Attorney's Office and probation officers; and participating in investigations. In addition to representing individual clients the FCJP will serve as an information clearinghouse and resource for Chicago-area federal criminal defense lawyers and will work to address larger systematic problems with the federal criminal justice process. Projects members will also attend weekly sessions with the Director that will include exercise and simulations, lectures and discussion sessions. Finally students will take courses in Evidence, Criminal Procedure I, a new course this fall, Federal Criminal Procedure and participate in the Intensive Trial Advocacy Workshop before the start of their 3L year.
The Federal Criminal Justice Program marks the second new clinical project this year, and joins the Exoneration Project as part of an ever expanding number of clinical opportunities offered to our students. The FCJP will launch in the Fall Quarter.