Rachel Burg has joined the University of Wisconsin Law School as a clinical assistant professor in the Wisconsin Innocence Project (WIP). WIP seeks to exonerate the innocent and to train the next generation of legal leaders. Since WIP's founding, student teams led by professors with expertise in the field have successfully secured the release of more than 30 wrongfully convicted persons.

"The Wisconsin Innocence Project is vital to the Law School's mission," said UW Law School Dean Daniel Tokaji. "This pathbreaking clinic offers students the opportunity to develop their lawyering skills, while providing outstanding representation to people who are desperately in need of help. Professor Burg's experience and commitment to justice make her the perfect person to lead the Wisconsin Innocence Project toward new heights."

Burg started her legal career as an intern in the University of Michigan Law School's Innocence Clinic. (She would go on to receive her J.D. from the university in 2012.) That experience led her to public defense work, which she's done for the last decade.

"When the opportunity arose to join the UW Law School faculty and direct the Wisconsin Innocence Project, I felt like it was the chance to bring my career full circle to the work that started my passion for criminal legal system reform," she said. "The Wisconsin Innocence Project at UW Law School is a pioneer in the Innocence Movement and has provided invaluable hands-on legal education to students since its inception."

Burg said she is excited to continue this critical work with WIP staff and students.

"We're delighted to welcome Rachel to the Wisconsin Innocence Project," said Associate Dean Ursula Weigold. "Rachel’s experience as a training and supervising attorney for public defenders, as well as her interest in law, policy, and systemic reforms, will inform her teaching and be valuable for our WIP students."

As a public defender for 10 years, Burg said she knows that the way the law works in the courtroom, for everyday people, can be wildly different from the law in textbooks, which is why she was so drawn to UW Law's Law-in-Action approach to legal education and emphasis on experiential learning.

"The clinical experience at UW Law gives students the opportunity to learn the real-world skills they will then be able to use to make positive impacts on their communities right out of law school," she said. "I'm so excited to be a part of such important work."

Submitted by Law School News on July 15, 2022

This article appears in the categories: Features

Related employee profiles: Rachel Burg, Daniel Tokaji, Ursula Weigold