GEORGETOWN LAW’S full-time Appellate Courts Immersion Clinic is seeking applicants with significant appellate litigation experience for a two-year fellow/appellate litigator position to start in July or August 2020. Working with the Clinic director, the fellow will litigate and mentor students on complex public-interest appeals in federal courts of appeals nationwide and in the U.S. Supreme Court. The fellow’s responsibilities include arguing federal appeals.
What is the Appellate Courts Immersion Clinic?
Under the supervision of the Clinic director (Brian Wolfman) and the Clinic fellow, Georgetown Law students represent parties to appeals. The Clinic occasionally represents amici as well. The Clinic handles cases involving a wide range of federal statutory and constitutional law. We handle all manner of civil appeals, including civil-rights, employment, consumer, environmental, tort, and education-law cases. We also handle immigration and criminal appeals. To date, about half of our work has been in federal courts of appeals and about half in the Supreme Court.
Students take a lead role in researching and writing complex appellate briefs in an intensive, collaborative learning environment. Teams of two to three students work directly with the fellow and Prof. Wolfman through multiple drafts of outlines and briefs. On each project, the student-to-instructor ratio will be no greater than three to one. Every aspect of appellate advocacy—argument choice, argument ordering, use of authority, writing style and tone, and word choice, to name a few—is discussed and debated within the team and with the instructors. The fellow must be committed to working with students to produce the finest product. No document is filed with a court unless it meets the highest standards.
Over the semester, each student—again, working in a team—generally will be principally responsible for at least two litigation projects (for instance, an opening appellate brief and a petition seeking discretionary appellate review in the Supreme Court or another appellate court). In addition to completing the work of “their” teams, each student will be required to study and critique drafts produced by other teams in clinic-wide collaborative reviews. These reviews bring fresh, critical eyes to each project and help create a mission-oriented, collaborative law-office atmosphere.
The Clinic also conducts weekly case “rounds” to discuss progress in pending litigation and potential new cases and to visit with special guests, such as appellate litigators and judges.
Students enroll in the Clinic full-time for one semester. Students take a mandatory two-credit, separately assessed appellate courts seminar covering the substantive law of the appellate courts, brief writing, and other aspects of appellate practice. They may not enroll in any other courses.
What does the fellow do?
The fellow is responsible for day-to-day mentoring of students and works closely with students on improving their lawyering skills. The fellow will have principal responsibility for about half of the docket and will supervise students in all facets of each appeal. The fellow is expected to argue cases before federal courts of appeals. With experience, the fellow may also help teach classes on appellate law and practice and play a key role in case development and in planning other clinic activities.
Clinic fellows are integral to the success of Georgetown Law’s clinical education program. Georgetown provides significant support and guidance for fellows interested in pursuing academic scholarship and careers. Fellows participate in a clinical pedagogy seminar and other activities designed to support an interest in clinical teaching and legal education. As part of the Georgetown Law community, fellows are encouraged to attend seminars, workshops, and programs both on and off campus. Successful completion of the fellowship results in the award of an L.L.M. in Advocacy from Georgetown University. Over 100 former Georgetown Law clinical fellows are currently full-time legal academics, both as law-school clinicians and doctrinal faculty. Every year, fellows graduate our fellowship program and become law teachers. Other former fellows are prominent members of the public-interest bar.
The Clinic’s appellate litigation
The Clinic litigates complex public-interest appeals nationwide. We’ve handled a wide range of matters in the Supreme Court, and though we’ve been around for only five semesters, we’ve already handled appeals in eight of the federal circuits (and a state appellate court as well). Our clients run the gamut—from employees seeking remedies for illegal discrimination to people harmed by vehicle defects to a national organization championing retirees’ pension rights to a criminal defendant maintaining (rightly, as it turned out) that his sentence was unlawful. And, as already noted, we’ve been tackling a wide range of legal issues: from the standards for avoiding deportation under the Convention Against Torture, to workers’ rights to minimum wages and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act, to forum choice in a class action arising from the Flint water crisis, to the breadth of the current-drug-user exemption under the fair-employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, to name just a few.
Applicants should review the Clinic’s litigation on our website.
The Clinic director
The fellow will work closely with the Clinic’s faculty director, Brian Wolfman. Prof. Wolfman joined Georgetown Law’s permanent faculty in fall 2016 to design and direct the Appellate Courts Immersion Clinic. He came to Georgetown from Stanford Law School, where he was a Professor of the Practice of Law and co-Director of the Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. After clerking for a federal appellate judge, he worked as a poverty lawyer in rural Arkansas. He then did trial and appellate litigation for nearly 20 years at Public Citizen Litigation Group, a national public-interest law firm, serving the last five years as the Group’s director. From 2009 to 2014, he was at Georgetown, directing the school’s Civil Rights clinic. In addition to extensive trial-court experience, Prof. Wolfman has litigated hundreds of cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, federal courts of appeals, and other appellate courts.
What qualifications are we looking for?
We strongly prefer to hire someone with significant experience as a practicing appellate lawyer. Applicants must demonstrate
- commitment to public-interest law
- excellent analytical, writing, and communication skills
- interest in clinical legal education
- experience or at least a strong interest in appellate litigation
Fellows must be members of the District of Columbia Bar or take immediate steps to apply for membership (through examination or reciprocity) after taking the position.
Pay and other benefits
The annual salary is $57,000 for the first year of the fellowship and $60,000 for the second year. The fellow also receives health and dental benefits and all tuition and fees in Georgetown Law’s L.L.M. program. Fellows also have unlimited free access to a state-of-the-art, on-site fitness center. As full-time students, fellows qualify for deferment of their student loans. Fellows may be eligible for loan repayment assistance from their law schools.
How to apply
Applicants should submit
- a brief statement (in a cover letter or otherwise) explaining the applicant’s interest in the position
- a résumé
- a law-school transcript
- a list of references, including contact information
- a recent legal writing sample of any length representing the applicant’s most challenging legal work. Please do not send an excerpt. The writing sample should not be a collaborative work or significantly edited by someone else.
The application materials should be sent in a single PDF file attached to an email sent to Niko Perazich at email@example.com.
Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and the position will remain open until filled. We will select candidates for an interview. Although we do not pay candidates’ travel expenses, we will try to arrange interviews at a time convenient for the candidate.