Stephen Braga Named New Director of Clinical Programs at UVA Law

Professor Will Remain Appellate Litigation Clinic Director, Continue to Teach
Stephen Braga

Stephen L. Braga assumes the post held by Richard D. Balnave, who is retiring.

April 19, 2017

Professor Stephen L. Braga, director of the Appellate Litigation Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law, will take on an additional role as director of clinical programs.

"Steve has built a hugely successful appellate litigation clinic from the ground up over the past four years," Dean Risa Goluboff said. "I am excited to watch him bring that same drive, energy and intelligence to his new role as director of clinical programs."

Braga will continue the path charted by Richard D. Balnave, who retires from the position in May, with the goal of steadily increasing clinic opportunities for experiential learning based on student demand. For example, Braga said, the new Civil Rights Litigation Pro Bono Clinic could be formalized into a for-credit clinic in the next year.

"I'll carefully evaluate, along with the other leaders of curriculum planning, and most importantly the dean, where to go next," he said. 

Virginia currently has 18 clinics, which service real clients and give students practical experience advising them, including by conducting interviews, writing briefs and formulating legal strategy, among other skills. Some of the clinics offer courtroom experience under a supervised third-year license.

Braga joined the Law School in 2013 to direct the Appellate Litigation Clinic. Under his guidance, the clinic has expanded its scope — with students gaining experience in arguing and winning cases in circuits across the nation.

He will also continue to teach White Collar Criminal Defense Practice.

Previously in his career, Braga represented clients in criminal and civil matters before trial and appellate courts for more than three decades. His career successes include securing the release of two men who had spent decades in prison for wrongful murder convictions.

"Having been a practitioner for 35 years now, what I'm really good at, and what I can really help the students with, is the way the real world of litigation and client relationships works," Braga said.

He noted that UVA Law's clinics, which include the esteemed Supreme Court Litigation Clinic and the First Amendment Clinic, already enjoy a strong national reputation.

Calling upon an old adage, Braga said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

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