Frequently Asked Questions – Parole Assistance and Re-entry
Below you will find answers to many of the questions you may have about participating in the Parole and Re-entry Clinic.
- Who is eligible to participate in the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
- What is the application process for the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
- What is the student selection criteria for the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
- How many students can enroll in the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
- Is there a difference between the experience of 2Ls and 3Ls enrolled in the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
- What kind of work do students do in the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
- How many hours must students devote to the Parole and Re-entry Clinic for the semester?
- Are there any special scheduling requirements for the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
- Are there any special costs associated with taking the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
- What is the dress code for the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
- Will I be required to provide my own transportation to meet clients at the prisons?
- How can I get answers to additional questions I have about the clinic?
Who is eligible to participate in the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
The clinic is open to both second and third-year students. Qualified third year students are certified to practice law pursuant to Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XX and provide direct representation to individual prisoners in parole and pardon matters, as well as collateral legal issues necessary for their successful re-entry into civilian life. Second year students are not certified but can still provide assistance under direct supervision of faculty. Students may only participate in one clinic or externship per semester, and second-year students who takes the clinic may not retake it as 3Ls.
What is the application process for the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
Students wishing to enroll in the Parole and Re-entry Clinic must apply through the uniform application process for all clinics and field placements. In the joint application, students will be asked to rank their clinic and field placement preferences, provide a résumé, and answer questions regarding relevant experiences and interests in their selections. The online application form will be made available on the website once the application period opens. Please note that the application period begins and ends several weeks prior to the registration period for all other classes. As a result, interested students should plan ahead and keep an eye out for e-mails and announcements regarding the clinics and field placements application period each semester. A phone or in-person interview may be required depending on the number of applicants.
What is the student selection criteria for the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
Although the high level of interest generally necessitates a competitive selection process, there is no set criteria for a successful candidate other than a demonstrated commitment to hard work and professionalism. In fact, clinic faculty make a concerted effort to select students with diverse experiences, backgrounds, perspectives, and interests in order to create a rich learning experience for all participants.
Is there a difference between the experience of 2Ls and 3Ls enrolled in the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
Although both 2Ls and 3Ls are allowed to enroll in the Parole and Re-entry Clinic, only 3Ls can be certified under the student practice rule. Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XX limits student practice in law school clinics to students who have completed at least four semesters of law school as well as Legal Professions. Since that rule gives qualified students the ability to practice law in a clinical setting, there are differences in what a 2L and 3L student can do. Although closely supervised by faculty, 3L students can act as lawyers for clinic clients while 2L students can act as non-lawyer assistants for the clinical faculty who are the lawyers for clinic clients. This still allows 2L students a rich clinical experience and avoids any issues of 2L students engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
All that you learn in your experiences in the Parole and Re-entry Clinic will teach you effective lawyering skills regardless of the area of practice you enter upon graduation. You will learn client interviewing and counseling skills, factual investigation and gathering supporting evidence, witness interviewing and preparation for hearing, written and oral advocacy, file maintenance and time management skills, as well as other important skills to prepare you for the practice of law and your professional life as a practicing attorney.
Students will be assigned two or three clients at the beginning of the semester. Students will travel to the prison where their client is incarcerated, interview the client, and begin to investigate and collect information about their client. They will interview family members, friends, and supporters who will assist their client once released. Students help their clients develop viable reentry plans so that they have a greater likelihood of success outside of prison. Students will draft a brief in support of their client’s early release and compile supporting documents and evidence for a packet that will filed with the Louisiana Committee on Parole. Students will prepare their client and witnesses for the parole hearing, and will advocate or assist in advocating for their client at the parole hearing. Students will also assist their clients in any collateral matters relevant to their success on parole. This may include family reunification issues, employment or housing issues, or benefits.
How many hours must students devote to the Parole and Re-entry Clinic for the semester?
Students are required to devote a minimum of 135 hours to the clinic over the course of the semester. These hours include time for ALL clinic work; e.g., attending class, interviewing clients, preparing briefs, interviewing witnesses, research, fact investigation, attendance at parole hearings, etc. In order to track time spent on clinic activities, student attorneys submit weekly time sheets.
Are there any special scheduling requirements for the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
Check the course schedule for the day and time of the weekly class meeting. Most classes are scheduled at the Law Center, but a few are scheduled off site for the convenience of guest speakers. Students are also required to attend a pre-semester orientation that will not conflict with any other course-related activities. Client visits and all other clinic work can be scheduled at times that do not conflict with students’ other courses, however, parole hearings are set by the Department of Corrections and may be scheduled at times that do conflict with students’ schedules. This is unavoidable, and, if this occurs, the student will have to miss the conflicting class in order to attend the parole hearing. Therefore, clinic students are encouraged to manage their allowed absences in other courses prudently.
Are there any special costs associated with taking the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
No. The clinic provides student attorneys with the resources needed such as routine office supplies. All necessary travel will be provided by supervising faculty or reimbursed directly to the student. There is also no textbook required for purchase as all reading materials for the clinic are available in the public domain.
What is the dress code for the Parole and Re-entry Clinic?
For the class sessions at the Law Center, students can wear whatever they normally wear to their other classes. For appearances before the Parole Committee, students are required to wear a suit or dress clothes suitable for a courtroom. For client visits, students do not need to wear a suit, but should dress professionally.
Will I be required to provide my own transportation to meet clients at the prisons?
No, in most cases. The usual practice is that you will be accompanied by your supervising attorney and by your classmates and your supervising attorney will provide transportation. There are rare circumstances when faculty may not be available to transport students. In those cases, alternatives will be provided and/or students driving personal vehicles will receive mileage reimbursement.
How can I get answers to additional questions I have about the clinic?
You can contact Professor Robert Lancaster directly with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org