Criminal Prosecution Externships

Explore criminal prosecution externships:

Fran Weiner and Courtney Hogg, Lecturers-in- Law (2 credits for the seminar; 3 credits for fieldwork

Course Description
This externship is designed to immerse students in a district attorney’s office in order to show them the true role of a local prosecutor as well as to help them build concrete lawyering skills. In this externship, the students will learn to evaluate cases, interview police and civilian witnesses, gather discovery as well as prepare to present testimony. Their hands-on work with multiple cases will highlight the importance of exercising discretion, meeting all ethical obligations and foster self-reflection.  Through class discussions the students will reflect upon the powerful and unique role that prosecutors play in the criminal justice system. Since the students will be completing their fieldwork in two different offices, the students will also reflect upon the similarities and differences in how each office responds to the needs of their respective communities. 

The Seminar
Students attend weekly two-hour seminars designed to supplement and expand upon their fieldwork. In each seminar, students will share their fieldwork experiences through weekly case rounds.  During these discussions, students will share observations, analyze issues and solve problems.  The seminars will cover topics such as criminal justice reform, prosecutorial discretion, ethical obligations, discovery, bail and suppression issues. In addition, the instructors will discuss jury selection and opening statements. The seminars will combine experiential learning exercises with readings and discussion to ensure that students engage in critical thinking about the work of a local prosecutor. Over the course of the semester, the students will have the opportunity to conduct a round of jury selection and deliver an opening statement on one of the cases they are working on as part of their fieldwork.

Fieldwork
Students will spend 15 hours each week working at either the New York County District Attorney’s Office (DANY) (One Hogan Place, Manhattan) or the Kings County District Attorney’s Office (KCDA) (350 Jay Street, Brooklyn).   In both offices, students will have the opportunity to analyze cases, speak with witnesses, gather discovery, observe court proceedings and help prepare cases for hearing and trial.  The students will also help conduct research on various questions arising from their cases. 

Important Information
The course will be limited to 10 students and will be open to JD and LL.M candidates. Preference may be given to students who have or will be taking Evidence.

Scott Kessler and Jennifer Camillo, Lecturers- in-Law (2 for the seminar; 2 for fieldwork)

Course Description
In this externship, students act as assistant district attorneys and as the lead prosecutor of misdemeanor domestic violence cases from case inception through trial. Students chosen for the program will work in the new Family Justice Center, a unique facility where the efforts of civil services providers for domestic violence victims are coordinated with those of law enforcement officials. Students will have their own designated work spaces at the District Attorney's Office located at the Family Justice Center and carry a caseload of about 15-20 cases. The seminar will prepare students for their field work and explore topics related to domestic violence prosecution. Completion of this course will satisfy the prerequisite requirement for the L9172 Advanced TrialPractice course.

The Seminar
The seminar will introduce students to all aspects of the prosecution function: from investigation and charging decisions, through arraignment, plea bargaining, discovery, motions, trial and appeal.

Seminar topics include trial practice and strategies employed in cases where the victim refuses to cooperate. In light of the high rate with which victims cease their cooperation with prosecutors, students are equipped with the methods they need to develop a case without the victim's cooperation.

Fieldwork
The Domestic Violence Bureau offers a fieldwork opportunity, in which students are able to prosecute misdemeanor crimes on behalf of the State. Operating under an Appellate Division special practice order, each student will be responsible for about 15 to 20 active domestic violence criminal cases.

Students will get the opportunity to argue pre-trial motions and take their cases to trial in a first-chair capacity. Students also will subpoena relevant evidence, draft complaints, prepare discovery materials and negotiate pleas with defense counsel. They also will interview victims and meet with police, defense counsel and judges, fighting for the right solution to cases that are fraught with consequences for the victims, defendants, and families. Students will spend at least 12 hours per week working at the Bureau and appearing on their cases in Queens Criminal Court. Each student is assigned to a supervising ADA, with whom they will build a relationship over the course of a semester.

Important Information
The course will be limited to 25 students and will be open to JD students who are U.S. citizens. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Justin Victor Rodriguez and TBD, Lecturers- in-Law (2 for the seminar; 2 for fieldwork)

Course Description
The Federal Prosecution Externship at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York offers students the opportunity to learn about investigating and prosecuting federal criminal cases in United States District Court. Students will be placed in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, where they will work with Assistant United States Attorneys representing the federal government in a wide range of criminal prosecutions, including ones involving firearms, narcotics, fraud, immigration, child exploitation, public corruption, terrorism, and violent crimes. The externship will also consist of a weekly seminar taught by Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Victor Rodriguez.

The Seminar
The seminar will meet on Mondays at 5:30 p.m. at the U.S. Attorney’s Office located at One Saint Andrew’s Plaza in downtown Manhattan. It will provide an overview of the criminal justice system, from the investigation and decision to charge a case through trial and sentencing. It will also analyze the ethical issues that arise at every stage of a criminal prosecution. The seminar will consist not only of a discussion of practice and case law but will have a practical component in which students will learn through simulations and practice exercises.

Fieldwork
Students will be expected to work for at least 11 hours per week. Each student will be assigned to work with one or more Assistant U.S. Attorneys and should anticipate assisting with all aspects of the prosecution of cases, including court proceedings, meetings with agents and victims and attending proffer sessions with cooperating witnesses. Students should also expect to perform research and writing on legal issues as part of the work at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and report on their weekly activities to the instructors.

Important Information
The course will be limited to 10 students and will be open to JD students who are U.S. citizens. Preference will be given to 3Ls who have taken upper-level criminal law or procedure classes.

Kristin Mace, Lecturer-in-Law, 4 credits (2 for the seminar; 2 for fieldwork)

Course Description
The Federal Prosecution Externship offers students the opportunity to work one-on-one with experienced Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Eastern District of New York as they investigate and prosecute violations of federal criminal law.  Each student will be assigned to work directly with an experienced Assistant U.S. Attorney in one of the Office’s five senior prosecutorial sections: the Business and Securities Fraud Section, Narcotics Section, Organized Crime and Gangs Section, Public Integrity Section, and National Security and Cybercrime Section.

Seminar
The weekly seminar will examine the role of Assistant U.S. Attorneys in each phase of the federal criminal justice system, including investigations, arrests, arraignments, pretrial suppression hearings, plea negotiations, and sentencing.  In addition, students will participate in practicums that build upon their experiences working on actual federal criminal matters, including a mock arraignment and moot oral argument on a suppression motion.

Fieldwork
Students will be expected to work 12 to 15 hours per work at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in downtown Brooklyn.  Students will have the opportunity to take part in all aspects of their supervising AUSA’s criminal caseload—from investigation to sentencing and post-conviction appeal—and should also expect to do substantial research and writing.  Under the local rules of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, law students will be permitted to participate in court appearances, such as arraignments, guilty plea proceedings, sentencings, hearings, and trials.

Important Information
Due to a security clearance requirement, all students for the externship must be US citizens.  The course will be open to students in the J.D. program.