Document Type


Publication Date



As this article proposes, law school criminal defense clinics provide an excellent environment to design and implement a non-capital mitigation investigation protocol based on the techniques used in death penalty cases. From a pedagogical perspective, such a model promotes student development of foundational lawyering skills and values, especially in the vital area of “narrative thinking characteristic of everyday practice.” From a pragmatic standpoint, creation of a mitigation investigation model benefits clinic clients and boosts the likelihood that similar investigative methods will become a staple of the student's post-graduate practice.

Part I charts the evolution of capital mitigation investigation and highlights recent jurisprudence signaling a movement of concepts associated with capital mitigation to non-capital cases. Part II provides a brief history of clinical legal education and outlines the structure and pedagogical goals of the non-capital criminal defense clinic. Finally, Part III explores how the use of a capital mitigation investigative model in non-capital criminal defense clinics advances clinical pedagogical goals.