David M. Zlotnick

Photo of David M. Zlotnick
David M. ZlotnickProfessor of Experiential Education

Education

J.D., Harvard
B.A., State University of New York at Binghamton

After graduating from the Harvard Law School, cum laude, Professor Zlotnick clerked for a federal appellate judge, worked as a white collar defense attorney in a national law firm, and served as a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. In 1995, Professor Zlotnick founded a litigation project for the public interest group, Families Against Mandatory Minimums ("FAMM"), which opposes the indiscriminate use of mandatory minimum penalties for non-violent crimes. As the Litigation Director and afterwards, Professor Zlotnick has worked on U.S. Supreme Court cases as co-counsel and as amicus curiae. In 2002, he was selected to be a Soros Senior Justice Fellow to document judicial opposition to the federal sentencing regime. Professor Zlotnick's work on sentencing issues has received coverage in a variety of media including; Rolling StoneBBC TelevisionThe Washington Post and The New York Times. He has also testified before the Judiciary Committees of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives and his articles on sentencing and other subjects have appeared in top fifty legal journals.

Professor Zlotnick directs the District of Columbia Semester in Practice which immerses students in Washington, D.C.’s legal and policy world through a full-time placement with a federal agency, legislative office, non-profit, or trade group.  His students appreciate his quick wit, his focus on problem solving, and his funny exams. He has sought to infuse his teaching with lessons he has learned from yoga and meditation. In 2008 he was awarded a Contemplative Practice Fellowship by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society to teach a course in trial advocacy that integrated mindfulness concepts and practices. He has also taught at the Washington College of Law at American University and Stetson College of Law and has been a Visiting Scholar at the George Washington University Law School.

Courses Taught

LAW.860Criminal Defense Clinic

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Feinstein Center for Pro Bono & Experiential Education

Course Description

Students represent indigent criminal defendants in Rhode Island District Court and Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal from arraignment through to final trial or other original adjudicative disposition. Trial Advocacy is a prerequisite.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Clinic/Externship

Course Credits

8.0

Course Degree

Juris Doctor

Prerequisite

LAW.641 – Trial Advocacy

LSM.856 (Honors Course)The Mindful Advocate

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HONORS COURSE

This course will meet a Friday and Saturday of two separate weeks.

Course Description

In just a few years, the benefits of mindfulness training have permeated American society, from elementary schools to the military, from yoga studios to corporate boardrooms, and into the legal world as well. This course explores how legal advocates can benefit from mindfulness training. At the core of most interpersonal lawyerly activity is some form of communication, whether it is to persuade, inform or dispute. Successful oral advocacy requires one to be truly present and mindful for two reasons: First, to speak in a non-rehearsed way that genuinely connects with the listener. And second, to maintain a flexible awareness that permits a lawyer to adjust to new information. Mindfulness -- defined here as moment-to-moment awareness without judgment – is a powerful tool for the legal advocate to remain focused and on-message but still open to perceiving, interpreting, and feeling what is happening around him or her. In this course, students will engage in a variety of simulation exercises including appellate argument, trial advocacy, negotiation, and mediation aided by mindfulness exercises designed to simultaneously focus and relax the participants in what can be stressful legal environments. This course is for students who desire to be stronger legal advocates by developing the resiliency skills that mindfulness training offers. The professor was on the faculty of RWU Law for many years but returned to full-time practice in Washington six years ago where he has endeavored to integrate mindfulness into his practice as a government lawyer and investigator. He also runs the RWU D.C. Semester-in-Practice program in the Spring semester.
HONORS COURSE

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Seminar

Course Credits

1.0

Course Degree

Juris Doctor

Faculty Associated

David M. Zlotnick

LAW.880Washington D.C. Semester-in-Practice Clinical Externship

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ONLY OFFERED IN THE SPRING

Feinstein Center for Pro Bono & Experiential Education

Course Description

The DC SIP immerses students in the Washington DC legal and policy world through a full-time placement with a federal agency, legislative office, non-profit, or trade group. The externship placement is complemented by a weekly, two-credit, graded seminar. The seminar will cover the rules and skills relevant to government practice and the entities that interact with the federal government, such as conflict-of-interest and lobbying regulations. Substantive issues will span administrative and regulatory enforcement, legislative drafting and congressional oversight, federal judicial policy making, and public interest litigation. Guest speakers will walk students through real world issues from their careers. Students will also engage in self-reflective journaling and other writing assignments.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Clinic/Externship

Course Credits

12

Course Degree

Juris Doctor

Faculty Associated

David M. Zlotnick
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Course Types

We have classified RWU Law classes under the following headers. One of the following course types will be attached to each course which will allow students to narrow down their search while looking for classes.

Core Course

Students in the first and second year are required to take classes covering the following aspects of the law—contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility.  Along with these aspects, the core curriculum will develop legal reasoning skills.

Elective

After finishing the core curriculum the remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through upper level elective courses.  Students can choose courses that peak their interests or courses that go along with the track they are following.

Seminar

Seminars are classes where teachers and small groups of students focus on a specific topic and the students complete a substantial research paper.

Clinics/Externships

Inhouse Clinics and Clinical Externships legal education is law school training in which students participate in client representation under the supervision of a practicing attorney or law professor.  RWU Law's Clinical Programs offer unique and effective learning opportunities and the opportunity for practical experience while still in law school.