David M. Zlotnick
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 Stone, BBC Television, The 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.
LAW.860Criminal Defense ClinicClick to Open
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 DegreeJuris Doctor
PrerequisiteLAW.641 – Trial Advocacy
LSM.856 (Honors Course)The Mindful AdvocateClick to Open
This course will meet a Friday and Saturday of two separate weeks.
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.
Course DegreeJuris Doctor
Faculty AssociatedDavid M. Zlotnick
LAW.880Washington D.C. Semester-in-Practice Clinical ExternshipClick to Open
ONLY OFFERED IN THE SPRING
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.