Federal Appellate Clinic

Federal Appellate Clinic

The Federal Appellate Clinic provides upper-level students with the opportunity to plan, research, and draft federal appeals for indigent criminal defendants. The aim of the clinic is to provide advanced instruction in written advocacy, client counseling, and legal analysis.

Professor Ricardo J. Bascuas, a former Assistant Federal Public Defender, supervises each team and guides the class through the briefing process. The Federal Appellate Clinic works closely with and accepts cases only from the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. The clinic does not do any habeas work.

How the Clinic Works

Pairs of students are assigned to a case and required to produce both the appellant’s initial brief and reply brief on strict deadline. Students are also responsible for corresponding with their clients. The entire class discusses all of the clinics’ cases, debates strategies, and shares research and ideas. The clinic thus functions as a small, highly collaborative law firm.

Prospective Student Requirements

Time Requirements/Credits

This clinic is a one-semester, four-credit course. The class meets twice each week for one and a half hours.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Cumulative GPA of at least 2.5
  • Successful completion of at least 32 credits


Professor Ricardo J. Bascuas


"My experience in the Federal Appellate Clinic has been invaluable…In addition to expanding my research and writing skills, Professor Bascuas taught me how to construct a persuasive legal argument when the law and facts are against your client."
Olga Izmaylova, J.D. ‘12

"Working for the clinic was difficult and stressful, but knowing that we were able to win our client's appeal made the stress and difficulty worthwhile."
Justin Wales, J.D. ‘12