Government Civil Litigation Externship - Southern District of New York

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

Important Information about this Course Offering:

Because of a policy change at the US Attorney’s Office, this program will now be offered in a slightly different form from that in which it was offered in prior years. The structure will be roughly equivalent to the fieldwork and seminar components of the clinics we offered at these offices in the past.

LW.10679 / LW.11210
Professor David J. Kennedy
Open to 3L and 2L students
Maximum of 10 students
Fall and Spring semesters
5 credits*
No prerequisites or co-requisites.

Course Description

The US Attorney's Office will select up to ten students for externships in the Government Civil Litigation Externship - SDNY, in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, recognized nationally as one of the finest law offices, public or private, in the country.

NYU shall select up to ten students to participate in a seminar on Government Civil Litigation in the SOuthern District of New York.  The seminar is separate from, but complementary to, the externship. The seminar meets one evening a week at the US Attorney's Office.

Work of the Civil Division

The work of the Civil Division offers perhaps the most challenging and diverse civil caseload of any law office, public or private, in the United States. An Assistant US Attorney in the Civil Division represents the interests of the United States and its agencies at trial and on appeal in affirmative and defensive civil litigation in the Southern District of New York. On the affirmative side, Civil Division Assistants not only investigate and prosecute health care fraud, mortgage fraud, and labor racketeering cases, but also enforce the federal civil rights laws, environmental laws, and tax laws. On the defensive side, Civil Division Assistants represent such federal agency clients as the CIA, the FBI, the Department of Defense, and the Department of the Treasury, often in cases that implicate the national security of the United States, raise complex issues of first impression, and involve challenges to the constitutionality of federal statutes and regulations. Civil Assistants run their cases from investigation through conclusion, handling all court appearances from initial conference, through trial, and on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, performing legal work that rivals that found in the nation's premier law offices. The Civil Division generally does not require Assistants to specialize, thus providing a civil practice that is extraordinary in its scope. Assistants in the Civil Division are afforded the unique opportunity to represent the United States of America in some of the most important and difficult matters, affirmative and defensive, that our legal system has to offer.

Externship - Civil Division, US Attorney's Office - SDNY

Each student will be assigned to work with two Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs). Students are required to work twelve to fifteen hours each week in the United States Attorney's Office. This arrangement permits continuity of assignments and familiarity with the cases of the AUSAs. Diversity of assignments by AUSAs is encouraged, and will include not only traditional legal research, but also legal drafting, participation in pre-trial discovery proceedings and trial preparation. Students will attend depositions, court proceedings, settlement negotiations, trials, and appellate arguments. This externship is separate from, but complementary to, the seminar.

Seminar - Government Civil Litigation in the Southern District of New York

Participants meet weekly for a two-hour evening seminar conducted at the United States Attorney's Office. Through legal drafting assignments, in-class simulations, and class discussion, participants study the substantive, stylistic and tactical considerations in the conduct of litigation as a mechanism for dispute resolution. The seminar will also focus on the unique ethical issues that confront government lawyers in civil cases. This seminar is separate from, but complementary to, the SDNY externship.

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