The Prisoner Civil Rights Mediation Clinic was established in cooperation with the federal court in 2009. The Eastern District federal judges have more Section 1983 prisoner civil rights cases per judge than any other federal court in the nation. Under Section 1983 of a Reconstruction era Civil Rights Act, prisoners in state prisons have the right to sue in federal court to seek relief for alleged violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute. The Clinic provides law students with the unique opportunity to co-mediate these prisoner civil rights cases with a federal magistrate judge. Professor Ederlina Co teaches the Clinic.
Prisoner Civil Rights Mediation Clinic Goals and Structure
The Prisoner Civil Rights Mediation Clinic provides students with the opportunity to co-mediate section 1983 prisoner civil rights cases with a federal magistrate judge at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. Under section 1983, prisoners in state prisons have the right to file a civil rights complaint seeking relief for alleged violations of their rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute. Students will learn effective mediation techniques and gain a working knowledge of section 1983 prisoner civil rights law.
This semester-long Clinic consists of a seminar and detailed work preparing for and conducting co-mediations with a federal magistrate judge. Over the course of the semester, students review assigned section 1983 cases, interview prisoner-plaintiffs, prepare bench memoranda for a federal magistrate judge, and co-mediate their assigned cases. Students also write reflection papers on their experience co-mediating the cases.
Prerequisites for Enrollment
A written application is required for this Clinic. Recommended Prerequisites: Mediation, Negotiation and Settlements, or Alternative Dispute Resolution, or a non-credit basic 40-hour Mediation Workshop.
The Clinic is taught by Professor Ederlina Co. Prior to joining the faculty at McGeorge, Professor Co spent nearly a decade working on Section 1983 prisoner civil rights cases at the Eastern District of California. She can be contacted at ECo@pacific.edu.
Unit Credit and Limit on Enrollment
The Prisoner Civil Rights Mediation Clinic is a three-unit, semester-long, graded course. Students who enroll in the Clinic must have their Thursdays free from classes during business hours. Students may take classes on Thursday evenings after 6 p.m. Students may also work on Thursdays, provided they can take certain Thursdays off for interviews and mediation days. Enrollment in the Clinic is typically limited to six students per semester.
Why This Clinic is Valuable
This Clinic provides an outstanding opportunity for students to learn both the theory and practice of mediation and to develop the skills necessary to serve as mediators, an essential skill for successful lawyers. Students will also develop a working knowledge of section 1983 prisoner civil rights law and procedure and have the added benefit of working closely with federal district court personnel.
Contact Professor Ederlina Co