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.

TBD, Lecturers-in-Law (2 for the seminar; 2 for fieldwork)

Course Description
The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey (USAO-DNJ) is the eighth- largest U.S. Attorney’s Office in the country. Before each semester begins, the Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney will canvass the Criminal Division supervisors to find large and complex investigations, or cases that are getting ready for trial, at the USAO-DNJ. Each extern will be assigned to one of these large investigations. The extern will work extremely closely with the AUSAs who are assigned to that investigation.

The Seminar
The central goal of the seminars will be to provide students with a practical, nuts-and-bolts view of federal criminal practice at a United States Attorney’s Office. Each week’s lesson plan will cover one aspect of federal criminal practice, and will be tied to the substantive work that the externs are doing. Instructors will be using the real-world experience that students are gaining in their substantive assignments to work through various parts of the federal criminal process.

Fieldwork
Students will be expected to work at the USAO-DNJ for approximately 12-16 hours per week and to be full members of the prosecution team for their investigations. The extern will sit outside the offices of the AUSAs, and will be expected to do real, substantive work – the exact same type of work that an AUSA does. They will be provided with all of the relevant background materials (prosecution memo, charging document, order of proof, etc.) and will meet with the entire prosecution team (AUSAs, federal law enforcement agents, paralegals, and supervisor) on their first day to get up to speed on the investigation. Among other things, the externs will be expected to: draft process (search warrant affidavits, pen registers, complaints); review evidence; create buckets of hot documents; create orders of proof; draft direct examinations; and prepare materials for cross examinations, among other things.

Important Information
The course will be limited to students who are U.S. citizens and must have lived in the United States for 3 out of the last 5 years. There are no prerequisites to take this course.