Legal Assistance to Institutionalized Persons Project

LAIP has worked to fulfill the unmet needs of underserved and vulnerable prison inmates for over four decades. Students experience and reflect on the profound human consequences of an individual’s involvement in the criminal justice system.


Legal Work: LAIP students are involved in real legal work. The first week, students meet their first clients and have client interviews. A student may draft a motion to a court by mid-summer. With the variety of issues inmates face, students get a variety of legal experiences, both criminal and civil.

Advocacy:  Students are the advocates for their clients; they are their voice. Most clients are unable to afford counsel. The student ensures that the clients receive justice in the system. They advocate on paper with motions and parole letters, and orally by representing clients at hearings. Students work closely with courts, opposing attorneys, criminal justice agencies and prison personnel.

Individualized Teamwork:  Students are the drivers of their experience. Supervising attorneys offer support and guidance. The student decides how to serve the clients’ needs. Although students have their own clients, they are part of a team and expected to talk through problems, generate ideas, and offer each other support.

Produce Results: Students see the results that they achieve for their clients. They see cases to the end. Each stage of a case offers different challenges, giving students a chance to experience client and court interaction at each point.

LAIP does NOT represent inmates in "conditions of confinement" disputes with the prisons, or in challenges to disciplinary reports. However, on these issues, LAIP may be able to provide inmates with information that they can use to proceed pro se (on their own).

In LAIP, the law students work under the supervision of Remington Center clinical faculty, who are all attorneys admitted to practice in Wisconsin. Each student visits one or more prisons and interviews inmates about their concerns. The students then research the facts and the law, and may also talk to witnesses, prior attorneys, or opposing counsel. Where appropriate, the students may draft legal correspondence and pleadings, and may appear in court on behalf of clients.

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