…I…consider this course a must-take. The opportunity to be a real lawyer, with real clients, and have real impact is an experience that I will long remember and cherish. Perhaps the best thing I can say about the course is that it has caused me to rethink where I want to be and what I want to be doing five years from now.
This was an amazing experience! I learned so much more by doing rather than just sitting in lectures and reading. The clinical gave me an opportunity to feel what it is like to practice criminal defense. I learned about interesting issues in the criminal justice system that I didn’t even know existed and got to hear what speakers and Professor Ogletree thought about such issues from practical experience (not in the abstract). It was also great to have opportunities to discuss issues and share experiences wit the other CJI students. Client interaction and being able to make a difference really set this clinical apart from others. My supervisor allowed me to truly learn by trying things by myself and I’ve taken so much out of this experience that will be worthwhile to me regardless of whether I ever practice criminal defense in the future. I’ve gained advocacy skills, knowledge of the system, and an enlightened perspective from my experience at CJI.
The faculty/staff at CJI is incredible! They were more helpful and interested in [the] students… Over all, this was a very positive experience and I would highly recommend it to others.
This was one of the best, if not the best, class that I had in law school. My experience was amazing, and extremely helpful on a whole bunch of fronts – practical client service, ethical reasoning, court presence, investigatory practices. I firmly believe that I was lucky to have spent time at CJI, and I thank you all for contributing so heavily to that experience.
…made me feel like a real lawyer, something I’d always wanted to try. Now I know I don’t want to do criminal defense – disconcerting to see how the criminal justice system works, especially uninterested/apathetic lawyers and jaded clients. It felt good to try to be a different kind of representative even if I was a total rookie. I realized how much different practice and learning local procedures is from law school classes.
Very rewarding – I learned more than I ever thought possible! Student, Spring 2001
This is the best experience I had at Harvard Law School bar none. The Institute and all of the instructors genuinely cared about me. It is only a shame that not more students take this course, as I believe it would change people’s reactions to HLS from negative feelings to extremely positive ones. If there is any thing I can do for CJI in years to come, I most definitely will do so!
[This was] the best learning experience available at HLS. [It] made me really want to be a lawyer in general, and a public defense [lawyer] in particular.
Life changing. Life enriching.
My CJI experience confirmed for me my fascination with criminal law and my love of criminal trial work. While at CJI, I was exposed to a number of extremely intelligent, highly motivated, and creative criminal defense lawyers. Thorough their supervision of my work, they taught me the meaning of zealous advocacy on behalf of a client within the bounds of legal ethics. My work at CJI instilled in me a profound respect and affection for my colleagues in the defense bar, and I never lose sight of the importance of their work to our constitutional system of government.