The Northern California Innocence Project is both a non-profit law firm that works to obtain the freedom of innocent people and a legal clinic offered to students of Santa Clara Law. NCIP offers law students the chance to do life-changing work while learning how to practice law.
Students attend class and work closely with attorneys researching, investigating and litigating claims of innocence. NCIP helps them develop the critical practical skills and legal reasoning needed for the successful practice of law. Our graduates practice law in every imaginable practice area. Regardless of their area of practice, NCIP graduates take from NCIP developed skills in research, writing and communication that will serve them and their employers. They also acquire a deep understanding of the real lives affected by our legal system and the real issues—legal, ethical and practical—that must be grappled with in actual cases.
At NCIP, law students are closely supervised by experienced attorneys and forensic experts. They review trial and appellate briefs, evidence and forensic reports, and transcripts of testimony. Students interview witnesses and inmates and conduct factual investigations, as well as draft legal documents. Students are also part of the legal team at hearings on petitions for DNA testing and writs of habeas corpus.
The NCIP Clinic is open to second and third year students at Santa Clara Law. The Clinic is a year-long course where students earn academic credit for their work with NCIP and receive a grade. For every 50 hours of work in the program a student earns one unit. Students generally commit to three units per semester. All students are required to attend “NCIP Boot Camp,” an intensive day-long training program at the beginning of the semester. Students who have completed NCIP are eligible to enroll in Advanced Practice NCIP for additional units.
Students enroll in NCIP during the normal registration process. Before enrolling, students must obtain a permission number from NCIP. For more information call 408-554-4790.