Government Civil Litigation Externship - Eastern District of New York

Conducted with the cooperation of the Civil Division of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York

LW.10679 / LW.11210
Seminar: Professor Michael Goldberger
Fieldwork supervised by an AUSA
Open to 3L and 2L students
Maximum of 12 students
Spring semester
5 credits*
No prerequisites or co-requisites.

Work of the Civil Division

The Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York represents the interests of the United States in a wide range of affirmative and defensive civil actions in the United States District and Bankruptcy Courts, as well as in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  The Civil Division has exceptionally strong affirmative, asset forfeiture, defensive, programmatic, and appellate practices. The affirmative practices include health care, defense contractor, mortgage fraud, and other qui tam cases brought under the False Claims Act. The division also maintains strong civil rights, environmental, and civil RICO practices and brings numerous civil penalty actions to enforce Government health and safety statutes and regulations. The defensive practices, in which the Government is sued for money damages, include Bivens or constitutional tort actions in which federal employees and officials are sued personally for money damages, personal injury actions under the Federal Tort Claims Act (e.g., auto accident, slip and falls), medical malpractice cases against VA hospitals and federally subsidized health clinics under the Federal Tort Claims Act, and employment discrimination (race, national origin, religion, gender, age, and disability) cases brought by Government employees against federal agencies.

Course Description


The Government Civil Litigation Clinic - EDNY is conducted in conjunction with the Civil Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York. This fieldwork externship is designed to expose students to the civil litigation process through the prism of federal government practice. Students will have the opportunity to observe and actively participate in both affirmative and defensive cases in which the United States is a party.  This externship is separate from, but complementary to, the seminar.

Each student will work under the supervision of one or two Civil Division Assistant United States Attorney (AUSAs). All of the AUSAs who work with students are strongly committed to providing students with substantive litigation experience. Students will be exposed to a broad and interesting range of affirmative and defensive civil litigation cases, including affirmative civil rights cases, environmental claims, employment law disputes, tort actions, civil fraud investigations, immigration disputes and asset forfeiture claims. This sheer diversity exposes students to many of the legally and socially significant issues of our time.

Students will participate directly in many aspects of litigation, including preparing for, attending, and assisting with court appearances, conducting and defending depositions, engaging in settlement negotiations, performing witness interviews and conducting arbitrations, trials, and appeals. Wherever possible, students are given the opportunity to argue a motion in court or to examine a witness in a deposition.  This externship is separate from, but complementary to, the seminar.

Students will be required to work approximately twelve hours each week at the United States Attorney's Office in Brooklyn. The office is conveniently located in Brooklyn Heights, and is easily accessible on the A, C, F, M, R, 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains.

The Seminar

The Government Civil Litigation - EDNY seminar is designed to expose students to the civil litigation process through the prism of federal government practice. The class will include discussions, exercises and sample problems designed to assist students to develop greater insight into litigation as a dispute resolution process. It is designed to maximize student participation and involvement.

The primary purpose of the seminar is to teach practical lawyering skills and to engage in and discuss the active strategic and tactical, legal, and ethical considerations that confront government attorneys in their daily practices. Students will be given short reading assignments designed to encourage thought and participation and will engage in exercises throughout the term designed to hone students' lawyering skills. The class will require students to prepare a complaint, answer, deposition outlines and an opening statement.  This seminar is separate from, but complementary to, the EDNY externship.

Note to Students Regarding Security Clearance 

Students selected for the program will be required to pass a security background check overseen by the Department of Justice’s Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management (“OARM”).  A favorable determination from OARM is required before an extern may begin working in any U.S. Attorney's Office.  A student must be a United States citizen to be eligible to work in the U.S. Attorney’s Office as an extern. In making its determination regarding suitability, OARM considers a number of factors, including a candidate’s tax filing and payment history, credit history, candor, and history of any usage of controlled substances. It is critical that students accepted for the externship complete the required security paperwork as soon as possible after acceptance into the externship so that the security background check can be timely obtained. A student may not commence externship work unless he or she has cleared the background check. In addition, because the U.S. Attorney's Office is involved in litigation against many private law offices, legal services offices and other state or municipal law firms, students may not work part-time in such an office and participate in the externship. Nor may you work for any federal judges while participating in this clinic. Furthermore, you may not receive any income or advance compensation from a law firm during the externship.

Application Procedure

Interested students should submit via CAMS the standard application, résumé and transcript, and a writing sample which is preferably not more than five pages long.  These materials will then be forwarded to the United States Attorney’s Office.  Please do not apply separately to the United States Attorney’s Office. There will be no interview.

Student Contacts

Fall 2014
Zain Abbas
Jacqueline Arbucci
Andre Guiulfo
Raphael Holoszyc-Pimentel
Shane Meckler
Matthew Tysdal
Andrew Wong

Spring 2015
Gabriel Ascher
Elizabeth Buechner
Hilary Hoffman
Andrew Jondahl
Christina Liu
Ryan Rakower
Sean Robinson
Daniel Schwartz
Michael Tracht

* 5 credits include 3 clinical credits and 2 academic seminar credits.