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Mar 19, 11:53 AM EDT

Federal court gives students chance to parry with judges

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The nation's largest federal appeals court is giving law-school students the opportunity to argue real cases.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals includes law schools on its list of attorneys willing to represent litigants for free. The schools select cases that are then researched and argued by students overseen by a supervising attorney.

The court started the unusual program more than two decades ago. It has given scores of students the opportunity to appear before judges and fight for clients - often immigrants or prisoners with civil rights claims.

Students say appearing before the court can be daunting, but they spend months preparing their cases and practicing their arguments.

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