C|M|LAW Launches ‘Pop-Up Practicums’ as a New Approach to Practice-Based Learning

Posted 2017-07-25 2:02pm

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law has launched new “pop-up practicums” where students will work closely with faculty in a short-term, practice-based experience in a legal issue important to them. C|M|LAW’s program is one of only a small number of “pop-up” learning experiences in the nation. Semester-long practicums offer course credit and will be established ad hoc based on the relevance of the topic, student interest and faculty availability.

Similar to C|M|LAW’s well-regarded litigation, transactional, and advocacy clinics, the pop-up practicums will give law students the opportunity to work on real world problems by undertaking projects for private, public, and/or non-profit entities.

Work has recently begun on the first two pop-up practicums, both under the supervision of Professor Jonathan Witmer-Rich.  In the Cuyahoga County Bail Task Force Practicum, students will participate in an ongoing Bail Task Force for Cuyahoga County that is considering proposals to reform the County’s processes for bail and pretrial release. Students, along with Witmer-Rich, will attend meetings of the Task Force, conduct research, and draft memoranda on the issues of bail and pretrial release. Students will ultimately assist in preparing a report and recommendations for consideration by the Task Force.

In the Ohio Criminal Rules Practicum, students will participate in the process of revising the Ohio Criminal Rules.  Witmer-Rich will accompany student to meetings of the Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure in Ohio Courts, held at the Supreme Court of Ohio building in Columbus. Students will then assist Witmer-Rich in researching potential changes to the Ohio Criminal Rules, and drafting memoranda and revising language for specific rules.  The practicum students are currently evaluating proposed amendments related to stipulations and service of process, and to rule 6 concerning grand jury reform.

“I am looking forward to working with our students to evaluate existing proposals, brainstorm new ideas, and experience the difficult work of trying to craft new legal rules that improve our system of justice, satisfy the various interested parties, and do not create new unintended problems,”  said Witmer-Rich.

Based on student interest, potential future pop-up practicum topics include: Bioethics; Criminal Justice Reform; Cybersecurity; Entrepreneurship; Environmental law; First Amendment; Health Law; Immigration; Intellectual Property; LGBT rights; Police Reform; Presidential Power; Public Policy; and City Economic Growth.

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