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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic

Our Work

The Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic represents clients in appeals before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, most often in civil rights cases for clients who cannot afford private counsel.

Over the course of the year, students, in teams of two, represent a client in every stage of a federal appeal. Students review the appellate record, research the legal issues presented by the case, prepare the opening and reply briefs, and argue the case before a panel of Ninth Circuit judges. The clinic's clients are drawn from the Ninth Circuit's pro bono docket and usually involve a civil rights claim. 

Student Experience

Students work under the supervision of Professors Curt Cutting and Rebecca Powell, attorneys at the appellate law firm Horvitz & Levy LLP. The Clinic requires a one-year commitment. Students in the clinic will receive three units per semester*.

The workload required to prepare high quality appellate briefs and to prepare for oral argument is demanding. The formal in-class time will include a two-hour evening class at the law school meeting once a week and a separate four-hour block of supervised clinic work time during which the students can work on the various aspects of their case under the supervision of the clinic directors. This four-hour weekly block will occur at the clinic directors' appellate law office in Burbank.

*Second year students may participate in the spring of their Second year and Fall of their Third year.

Application Process

Students who are interested must apply by preparing a

  • statement of interest, explaining the student's interest in appellate law,
  • resume,
  • transcript
  • writing sample, and
  • three references 

Only two new students are admitted each semester, selected based upon the following factors: a demonstrated interest in appellate law, excellent research and writing skills, and general academic excellence.

 Professors Curt Cutting and Rebecca Powell direct the Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic and supervise students' work. For more information about the Clinic's course or practice, contact Professor Cutting at ccutting@horvitzlevy.com or Professor Powell at rpowell@horvitzlevy.com.