Prosecution Externship - Southern District of New York

Formerly called the Prosecution Clinic - Southern District of New York

Important Information about this Course Offering:

Because of a policy change at the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. Attorney’s Office next year, which would be accompanied by a seminar taught by an Assistant U.S. 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 immediately submit an application, transcript and resume via CAMS, the online application system. Students selected for this externship will be required to undergo a routine security clearance check by the F.B.I. that is required of lawyers, non-legal staff and interns working in all U.S. Attorney's Offices. Students must be United States citizens and meet residency requirements to be eligible for the Prosecution Clinic. It is critical that updated contact information be provided so that the required security paperwork may be completed and returned as soon as possible so that the security clearance may be completed in time for the student to commence clinic work. 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 this clinic. 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 internship. For a complete list of eligibility requirements, visit the SDNY website and scroll down to "Externships During the School Year."

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 Criminal Division of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York

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

Approximately eight to ten students will be selected to participate in the Prosecution Clinic at 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.

As described below, the clinic includes fieldwork and a two-hour seminar. Students will be required to work approximately fifteen hours each week in the United States Attorney's Office. The seminar will meet on Monday evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Classes will be held both at the assigned classroom and at the United States Attorney's Office.

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 clinic, 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 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 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 plea bargaining and sentencing. Students will also participate in in-class trial simulations, so that students can improve and enhance their advocacy skills.

* These courses may be taken concurrently with the clinic.