HOW TO PREPARE FOR A CAREER IN CRIMINAL LAW

When to Take a Criminal Law Clinic

Students are eligible to take a clinic in their 2L year, and may find it useful to do so, but clinics typically involve a large number of credit hours and so enrollment in a clinic may interfere with the number of other courses a student is able to take during his or her 2L year. Many of the lessons available in clinics are also available, in less credit-intensive form, in simulation courses like Criminal Litigation and Civil Litigation, which use a simulated case to teach substantive law, procedure, and evidence from the perspective of a practitioner who is making strategic judgments at varying stages of a case and also offering opportunities to perform in role in litigation skills exercises at the pretrial stage and at trial.

The third year of law school tends to be the optimal time to take a clinic. Students will thereby come into the clinic with a solid foundation in criminal procedure, evidence and other relevant substantive law courses. If students have taken all of their required courses during the 2L year (as they are well-advised to do), they will be able to concentrate on their clinic and to build their overall course schedule around the special scheduling needs of participating in a clinic. The clinic will then serve as the capstone of the student’s law school experience and provide a transition to what will come after graduation (whether that is an immediate entry into the world of criminal practice or a clerkship or fellowship before entering practice).

NYU Law has eight criminal practice clinics: Comparative Criminal Justice, Criminal Defense and Reentry Clinic; Criminal Appellate Defender Clinic; Equal Justice and Defender Clinic; Federal Defender Clinic; Juvenile Defender Clinic; Prosecution Externship (EDNY); Prosecution Externship (SDNY).

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