Prosecution Externship - Southern District of New York

Formerly called the Prosecution Clinic - Southern District of New York

Because of a policy change at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the clinical 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 Justin S. Weddle
Open to 3L and 2L students
Maximum of 8-10 students
Fall and Spring semesters
5 credits*
Prerequisites/Co-requisites. Criminal Procedure and Evidence are recommended**

Course Description

The United States Attorney’s Office will select eight to ten students for externships in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, recognized nationally as one of the finest prosecution offices in the country.

NYU will select up to ten students to participate in a seminar on criminal prosecution in the Southern District of New York.  The seminar is separate from, but complementary to, the externship. The seminar will meet on Mondays from 6:00-7:50 PM.

Work of the Criminal Division

Criminal Division Assistant United States Attorneys handle criminal cases from the initial investigative stage through appeal, conferring with investigators, local police and federal agents to plan strategy, presenting cases to the grand jury, negotiating with defense counsel, handling all court appearances and motion practice, trying cases before the bench and jury, and briefing and arguing appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The cases are often very complex and significant. Because the Southern District is the financial capital of the world, as well as a major center for organized crime, narcotics trafficking, and terrorism, the Office handles an unusually large number of cases involving sophisticated schemes in both the white collar and the violent crime areas.


By participating in this externship, students will have an opportunity to learn all about the inner workings of the federal criminal justice system. Each student will report to, assist, and work under the supervision of one or two Criminal Division Assistant United States Attorneys. Students are required to work twelve to fifteen hours each week in the United States Attorney’s Office.  Students will work closely with each of their supervisors in the investigation, preparation, and prosecution of criminal cases in federal court in Manhattan. The students' work may include, for example, interviewing federal agents, attending proffers of cooperating witnesses, and drafting motions, briefs, plea agreements and other pleadings and otherwise assisting in the preparation of such materials. Students will also assist Assistant United States Attorneys who are preparing for trial by, for example, debriefing witnesses and drafting jury instructions. Students will attend court proceedings, including pre-trial conferences, guilty pleas, sentencing proceedings, and trials. The externship is separate from, although complementary to, the SDNY seminar.

The Seminar

Participants meet weekly for a two-hour evening seminar to discuss, study, and explore the many important roles of the prosecutor in the federal criminal justice system. Classes will focus on ethical and strategic considerations in exercising prosecutorial authority and other challenges facing prosecutors. In particular, classes will examine how federal prosecutors may influence criminal cases at all stages of development, investigation and arrest through investigative technique, charging decisions, plea bargaining and sentencing. Students will also participate in in-class trial simulations, so that students can improve and enhance their advocacy skills.

* 5 credits includes 3 clinical credits and 2 academic seminar creits.

** These courses may be taken concurrently with the clinic.