Wisconsin Innocence Project

For Students:

Welcome!

We hope you'll consider applying to WIP this November!

Students are the lifeblood of the Wisconsin Innocence Project.

Each year, we invite between twelve and eighteen first-year law students to join our team. Students work in teams, under the supervision of an expert faculty member, investigating and litigating claims of innocence.

Each claim of innocence is different, but these claims always feature the search for new exculpatory evidence. Therefore, students will master and apply the tools of exoneration such as DNA testing, forensic sciences, witness recantation and alibi witnesses.

Students begin their WIP experience in the summer following their first-year of law school. Students receive a tuition remission---that's free tuition for the summer---and two stipends to help defray the cost of living expenses.

During this summer, students receive extensive training, learning the fundamental of criminal process, forensic science, post-conviction litigation and client management.

Students start working their portfolio of cases almost immediately. In their first two weeks, for example, students will visit a medium or maximum-security prison to meet the person making the innocence claim. Students will spend their summer investigating these claims: reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses, visiting courthouses, studying transcripts, consulting experts, obtaining affidavits, and identifying potential sources of DNA evidence.

In the Fall, students continue to earn academic credits while working their cases. Students also take Wrongful Convictions, a doctrinal course that complements the work of the clinic. In this course, student will learn the root causes of wrongful convictions. This course also satisfies the law school's upper-level writing requirement.

In the Spring, students continue to investigate claims of innocence. Students, in the Spring, are also often eligible to practice in court. Therefore, students have the opportunity to deliver opening and closing arguments, examine and cross-examine witnesses, argue motions and briefs.

Therefore, at the end of the WIP experience, students will earn up to eighteen credits:

Course

Semester

Credits

Note

Wisconsin Innocence Project Clinic

Summer

7

Free Tuition. Plus Two Stipends

Wrongful Convictions

Fall

3

Fulfils upper-level writing requirement

Wisconsin Innocence Project Clinic

Fall

3 or 4

 

Wisconsin Innocence Project Clinic

Spring

3 or 4

Students are eligible to appear in court

 

Our students overwhelming enjoy their WIP experience, and many describe the experience as both eye opening and transformative. The clear majority of students, however, decide to pursue careers outside criminal law. In fact, in recent years, WIP alumni have gone on to pursue careers working for federal judges, Wisconsin Supreme Court justices, and Major Law Firms in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois

In the end, we hope to provide a fun and educational experience.

Thank you for your interest, and we hope you'll consider applying to WIP!

 

How Do I apply to WIP?

Students will receive in-depth instructions about applying to all Law School clinics. In early November, Career Services will permit students to use Symplicity to rank their preferred clinic programs. Students will also submit a cover letter and resume. And that's it.

We don't interview students. So, the cover letter and resume is important.

Does WIP have Prerequisites?

We will provide all the training our students need. We have no pre-requisites.

How Does WIP choose students?

In truth, we're looking for fun, hard-working, and intellectually-curious students. We like critical thinkers who want to solve mysteries and who want to polish their legal skills.

We don't interview applicants. We make our offers based upon cover letters and resumes. We want to work with students who want to work with us. Therefore, we place a premium on students who rank us first. We rarely accept students who rank us lower than first.

We welcome applicants from students who speak Spanish. We have a soft spot for former teachers, journalists, paralegals and veterans. We also seek to build a diverse team, and we welcome applications from students with interesting and diverse life experiences.

We're happy to accept and train students who want to work in the criminal justice system, but we do not require that anyone seek to pursue any specific career path.

Lastly, we're big fans of teamwork. Indeed, for each of your cases, you'll usually work with, at least, one other student. Thus we value those skills---hopefully forged in Kindergarten---plays well with others.


When will I learn whether I've been admitted?

WIP will make first-round offers in late January. Some students will receive second-round offers in mid-February. Second-round offers are only made to students who have not received an offer from another clinic.

What exactly is the Summer Financial Package?

  • Tuition Remission for the Summer
  • Living Stipend
  • Friends of the Remington Center Stipend

What will I learn during my time at WIP?

We recognize that the majority of our students will not pursue careers in criminal law. Therefore, we train students in a host of transferable skills. These skills include:

Brief and Motion Writing

Peer Editing

Client Interviewing and Communication

Document Review and Synthesis

Expert-Witness Management

Litigation Strategy

Problem Solving

Legal Team Work

Docket Management

Client Communication

 Legal Ethics


What kind of jobs do WIP Alums Pursue?

Our students go on to practice corporate law, civil rights, civil litigation, immigration, health care law, and, of course, criminal law. In recent years. Our students have obtained jobs and internships at:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

The United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Supreme Court

Jones Day

Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

Stafford Rosenbaum LLP

Godfrey & Kahn S.C

DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C

Quarles & Brady

The Milwaukee District's Attorney

The United States Department of Justice. Criminal Division.

The Cook County Prosecutor's Office

The Philadelphia District Attorney Office.

The American Civil Liberties Union

The Dane County District Attorney's Office

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