For Students

Project students work in teams of two and take primary responsibility for representing clients sentenced under the Three Strikes law. Students visit clients in prison, undertake factual investigations in the field throughout California, research case law, acquire relevant documents and evidence, draft court pleadings and briefs, and argue cases in open court. Much of the Project’s work involves investigation into its clients’ social history, as well as novel and complex constitutional litigation. Project attorneys supervise student work and meet weekly with each student team.

Project students also study the politics surrounding the Three Strikes law and criminal justice policy in California and participate in the Project’s ongoing effort to reform the most punitive aspects of the law.

The Project also includes a weekly seminar, which covers instruction on research and writing skills, investigation techniques, and advanced doctrinal analysis of state and federal criminal law.


“The [Three Strikes Project] offered me the richest, most meaningful experience of my law school career. The work is not only important, but also complex and fascinating.”
– Ashley Simonsen ’10

“The Project has probably been the best thing I’ve done in my law school career. The skills you get–particularly briefing and investigation–are priceless. Because of the Project, I’m far better prepared for my post-law-school life than I ever thought I could be.”
– Emily Galvin ’10

“I came to law school itching to do substantive work, to use the power of law to shape even the smallest part of the world around me. After being frustrated with the abstraction and theorizing of the classroom, the Project was a breath of fresh air. Although it is humbling to consider that the life of a real human being is at stake, it is empowering to know that you are trying to give him or her one glimmer of hope that he or she may eventually see the light of day.”
– Paco Torres,’11