This externship program will introduce students to the legal issues facing attorneys who represent New York City, and the role of lawyers in City government. It will also introduce students to the complexity of the City lawyer's role as counselor, litigator and/or negotiator for New York City and its agencies and employees, particularly with respect to policy matters. While the focus of the course is on New York City, this externship program may be of interest to any student who is interested in local government law, policy and administration, whether the student is considering working for government or working on these issues in another capacity.
Students will be assigned to different divisions at the New York City Law Department (as described below) for a minimum of 10 hours per week. Depending on the division to which they are assigned, students may be asked to prepare internal legal memoranda (for example, analyzing legal issues for Law Department or client agency officials, and/or recommending settlement); draft motion papers; assist with discovery; review proposed rules or legislation; or review drafts of transactional agreements, among other things. Students may have the opportunity to attend meetings with government officials, client interviews, legislative hearings, depositions, court appearances, negotiation sessions, or other events relating to their work.
The seminar component of the course will focus on the experience of representing New York City by examining several current "case studies" concerning New York City policy matters in which City lawyers played a role. Specific seminar topics may include health policy, economic development, and stop, question and frisk, among others. The seminar will also review the structure of New York City's government; the City's law-making authority and processes; the tools available to City attorneys; how different parties both inside and outside of City government may influence City policy and practice; and the role of City lawyers in representing the City's interests. The seminar will include presentations by guest speakers and in-class exercises in addition to class discussion.
Each student will also write a paper analyzing the legal issues pertaining to a New York City policy matter or proposal selected by the student. All students will present their analyses and recommendations to the class near the end of the semester.
Each student will be assigned to one division for the duration of the course. Potential division assignments include:
Administrative Law - Represents the City in lawsuits that challenge the validity of its regulatory laws and the policies and decisions of the administrative agencies charged with carrying them out. Also brings civil actions and criminal proceedings against individuals and corporations that violate the City's regulatory requirements.
Affirmative Litigation - Represents the City in litigation in which the City is a plaintiff. Subject areas include commercial disputes; hazardous products claims; civil racketeering and fraud claims; nuisance and restitution claims; antitrust claims; and challenges against the State and federal governments on matters such as funding for public benefits programs and education.
Economic Development - Acts as the City's business and transactional counsel for a wide range of projects that are intended to enhance the City's economic base either by generating direct revenue for the City treasury or by strengthening the City's tax base and general economic health.
Environmental Law – Represents and counsels the City in an extensive range of environmental policy matters, including litigation to protect the City’s water supply, environmental compliance and resource management matters, and administrative and legislative hearings.
Family Court - Handles the City's juvenile delinquency prosecutions (children ages seven to fifteen). The offenses prosecuted range from shoplifting and graffiti to more serious crimes such as assault, robbery, sex offenses, and homicide. Dispositions in Family Court focus on rehabilitation and providing appropriate services in addition to public safety.
Labor and Employment - Represents the City in federal and state court in litigation arising out of the City's role as the employer of more than a quarter-million workers. Cases most frequently concern claims of discrimination or retaliation in violation of federal, state or local anti-discrimination laws; First Amendment free speech rights of municipal employees; and claims by both individual City employees and unions based on collective bargaining agreements and State civil service law.
Legal Counsel - Provides advice to the Mayor's Office and City agencies regarding the legal implications of policy initiatives and administrative reforms, as well as other legal matters. Reviews and assists in drafting City-sponsored proposed state and local legislation, and administrative rules proposed by City agencies.
Please submit the following documents to Stephen Louis (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Doris Bernhardt (email@example.com) by 5 pm on Monday, November 2nd, 2015:
1. Cover letter or e-mail that explains your interest in the externship, and indicates your division assignment preference(s)
3. Law school transcript
4. Writing sample
You will be contacted for an interview with the course instructors, which may be followed by an interview at the Law Department with a division managing attorney.