Federal Defenders of Montana Clinic

Clinical Professor Jeffrey T. Renz

Variable Credit(s)
Fall: LAW 600 12 | Spring: LAW 601 12

Academic Year only

Federal Defenders of Montana
Supervising Attorneys: John Rhodes, Andy Nelson

Faculty Supervisor: 
Clinical Professor Jeff Renz


  • Professional Responsibility (effective for all classes entering Fall 2011 and thereafter).
  • Criminal Procedure, effective Fall 2012


Areas of Law:  Federal Criminal Law; Appellate Litigation

Lawyering Skills: Research and writing

Sample Projects:  Investigate, research and draft sentence mitigation arguments; Write a Ninth Circuit appeal or Petition for Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court; Prepare for trial by interviewing witnesses, reviewing discovery, researching legal issues, drafting jury instructions, attending trial; Prepare clients for initial court appearances or meet with clients detained in the Missoula County Detention Center

The Federal Defenders of Montana, which is located at Millennium Building, 125 Bank Street, maintains a branch office in Missoula.  The mission of the Federal Defenders of Montana is to ensure that the right to counsel guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment, the Criminal Justice Act (Title 18 U.S.C. ' 3006A), and other congressional mandates are enforced on behalf of those who cannot afford to retain counsel or obtain criminal defense services.  In fulfilling its mission, the Federal Defender program helps to (1) maintain public confidence in the nation's commitment to equal justice under law and (2) ensure the successful operation of the constitutionally-based adversary system of justice by which both federal criminal laws and federally guaranteed rights are enforced.

Clinical students will assist the Federal Defenders in providing aggressive and effective legal representation to individuals accused of federal offenses, under investigation for federal criminal violations, or appealing a federal conviction or sentence, as well as furnishing representation to federal Habeas Corpus litigants (including those under a sentence of death).  Clinical students will directly experience client contact, aid with defense investigations, participate in proceedings in the United States District Court (to the extent permitted by the client, the Court and the attorney supervisor), and research trial and appellate issues, write court memoranda in support of pretrial motions, draft briefs to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and draft writs and petitions to the United States Supreme Court.