Government Civil Litigation Externship - Eastern District of New York

Formerly called the Government Civil Litigation Clinic - Eastern District of New York

Important Information about this Course Offering:

Because of a policy change at the US Attorney’s Office, the clinical program probably will not be able to offer this clinic in the same form in which it was offered in prior years. The Law School is currently working with the US Attorney’s Office to develop a new programmatic structure that satisfies the Office’s new rule.

It appears very likely that the Law School will be able to offer fieldwork placements for credit at the US Attorney’s Office next year, which would be accompanied by a seminar taught by an Assistant US Attorney (AUSA). The resulting structure will probably be roughly equivalent to the fieldwork and seminar components of the clinics we offered at these offices in the past.

Given the likelihood that the new structure will roughly approximate what we have offered in the past, set out below is a description of the fieldwork and seminar components of the clinic that was offered in prior years. Because the new structure probably will be called an externship and accompanying seminar rather than a clinic, the offering is listed in the clinic application form as an “externship” rather than a “clinic.”

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. Students selected for the program will be required to obtain a security clearance waiver from the federal Office of Personnel Management; this is required of all interns working in all US Attorney's Offices. Students must be United States citizens to obtain the clearance waiver. It is critical that students accepted for the clinic complete the required security paperwork as soon as possible after acceptance into the clinic so that the security clearance waiver can be timely obtained. Students may not commence clinic work unless they receive a security clearance waiver. In addition, because the US 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 this clinic.

Further information will be posted on this web page as it becomes available. Questions can be directed to Randy Hertz, Vice Dean and Director of Clinical and Advocacy Programs, via email.

Description of the Former Clinic

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

LW.10679 / LW.11210
Professor Michael Goldberger
Open to 3L and 2L students
Maximum of 12 students
Fall and Spring semesters
5 credits
No prerequisites or co-requisites.

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 clinic 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. The classroom portion of the clinic 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.


In the clinical internship component of the course, 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.

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 primary purpose of the seminar will be 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. Classes will be held in the United States Attorney's Office.