The Criminal Appeals Project combines classwork on appellate procedure, client-centered representation on appeal, issue spotting and persuasive writing with work on actual criminal appeal cases assigned by the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office.

The clinic runs from fall through spring and is open to 2L and 3L students.


Course Curriculum

Please note: students must make a 2-semester commitment to ensure they can take a case from start to finish.

Second- and third-year law students in the Criminal Appeals Project work on criminal appeal cases in which the defendant wishes to appeal their conviction. This class qualifies for the 60-credit rule.

The students work in pairs under the supervision of experienced appellate public defenders and work on two cases during the year. During the first semester, students review court records and transcripts, interview their clients, and research possible issues for appeal. During the second semester, students continue research and draft postconviction motions. Each student also writes an appellate brief and partcipates in a mock oral argument.  

Each semester, students taking part in the Criminal Appeals Project take "Advanced Criminal Procedure: Representing the Criminal Appellant," (2 cr) along with their clinical work (3 cr). The class meets twice a week and focuses on appellate procedure, the ethics of appellate representation, issue spotting, writing techniques and methods of persuasion.


Learn More

Questions may be directed to Tristan Breedlove ( and Ellen Krahn (

For more information on the classroom portion of this project, please see the course description on the Law School's Courses & Schedules.

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