Law 708 - Civil Rights and Police Accountability Clinic

Joanna C. Schwartz

Joanna C. Schwartz

Professor of Law
B.A. Brown University, 1994
J.D. Yale, 2000
UCLA Faculty Since 2006
Course Description:

The civil rights and police accountability clinic prepares students to litigate police misconduct cases and appreciate the role of litigation in broader efforts to improve police accountability. Students will work in teams on cases involving allegations of police misconduct in collaboration with plaintiffs’ attorneys in solo practice, small firms, and non-profit organizations. Students may also work on policy projects in collaboration with non-profit and governmental organizations.

In the weekly seminar, students will tackle questions of litigation strategy, practice litigation drafting skills, and discuss issues arising from their cases. Students can expect to spend approximately ten hours per week on their casework, and will meet regularly with Professor Schwartz outside the weekly seminar.

Enrollment in this four-unit, graded course is by application and is limited to students who have taken Suing the Police. 

Course Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this course students will gain:

1. familiarity with legal and conceptual issues that arise in police misconduct litigation;

2. competency in basic communication skills and techniques used in litigation and in partnership with firms and advocacy organizations;

3. experience in legal research, writing, strategizing and/or advocacy responsive to issues that arise in the course of their cases; and

4. familiarity with ethical and practical issues (including decisions about strategy and tactics) specific to police misconduct lawyering and advocacy.