Kansas Supreme Court Research Clinic
This clinic serves the dual goals of providing students with practical research experience and assisting the Kansas Supreme Court by providing needed research support. Students are assigned research projects from the Kansas Supreme Court and the Office of Judicial Administration as arranged by the instructors. Students employ a variety of methodologies to conduct thorough research and concisely convey their findings to the Kansas Supreme Court, culminating with a presentation to the court at the end of the semester.
May it please the court: Sam Butler, L’13
For a former Capitol Hill intern drawn to public policy, the Kansas Supreme Court Research Clinic started and ended with a bang. Early in the semester, Sam Butler and his classmates met the justices over a casual lunch. Then, after a few months of intensive research and writing, the students returned to the Kansas Supreme Courtroom to make oral presentations before the judges.
“It was a unique opportunity to practice being an oral advocate in a high-stakes situation,” said Butler, L’13.
In between those thrilling bookends, Butler’s research focused on how videoconferencing technology could be incorporated into Kansas courts to effectuate the more efficient administration of justice. He carefully examined empirical studies, policy and procedure in other states, constitutional law, and nuanced issues such as whether seeing someone on a video screen is the same as seeing them in person. Butler ended up producing a 55-page paper and acquiring invaluable research skills. He also helped the highest court in Kansas gather crucial information for developing future policy.
“These weren’t papers that students just submitted to the Supreme Court,” Butler said. “These were topics that the court requested the students work on, so obviously they were interested.”