Section Description Provided by Instructor
NOTE - This course does not satisfy the Professional Responsibility requirement.
The Community Defense Externship offers students the opportunity to learn about the practice of indigent criminal defense in a community-based setting. Students will learn about aspects of criminal law and procedure related to the movement of a case through the court system and the practical and ethical considerations related to client interviewing and the forming of the attorney-client relationship. They will also engage in critical thought about topics related to criminal defense, including discovery and motion practice, investigations, developing a theory of the case, suppression hearings, disposition advocacy, and trial preparation.
The Community Defense Externship is a year-long externship, and consists of a weekly seminar and a placement at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS). During the field placement, the students will be responsible for all aspects of at least one misdemeanor case, beginning with the client interview and arraignment at New York County Criminal Court. Students will also be matched one-to-one with NDS Staff Attorneys and will spend the year assisting their attorneys in all aspects of their cases, including writing and researching motions, investigations, social service and mitigation work, plea bargaining, and preparing for pre-trial hearings, trials, and sentencing. The seminar will be graded based upon the students' performance in the seminar class and three short (3-5 page) response papers each semester. The field placement will be graded on a pass/fail basis. Students should plan to avoid permanent scheduling commitments on Fridays, as to ensure adequate time for fieldwork. Occasional Friday commitments are permissible.
Method of evaluation includes performance throughout the term.
W 4:20 –6:10 p.m.
Method of Evaluation
J.D. Writing Credit
Minor (upon consultation)
Criminal Law; Evidence; Trial Practice
Admission to the course requires permission. Please contact Lauren Winston-McPherson at email@example.com.