Government Civil Litigation Clinic - Southern District of New York
Conducted with the cooperation of the Civil Division of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York
Professor Sean Lane
Open to 3L and 2L students
Maximum of 10 students
|Fall and Spring semesters
No prerequisites or co-requisites**
Up to ten students will be selected to participate in the Government Civil Litigation Clinic - 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.
As described below, the clinic includes fieldwork and a two-hour seminar. Students are required to work twelve to fifteen hours each week in the United States Attorney's Office. The seminar meets on Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the United States Attorneys Office.
Work of the Civil Division
After visiting this country in the early part of the 19th century, Alexis De Tocqueville observed that scarcely any question arises in the United States which does not become, sooner or later, a subject of judicial debate.*** The work of the Civil Division demonstrates the continuing truth of that observation. In the thousands of cases on the civil docket of the United States Attorney’s Office, Civil Division Assistant United States Attorneys represent the interests of the United States in litigation as a plaintiff enforcing the law and as a defendant against legal and equitable claims, in both the district and circuit courts. Civil litigation on behalf of the United States, its departments and agencies, encompasses law enforcement initiatives, the implementation of statutory programs, and a range of defensive litigation. Subject matter areas include civil rights, environmental regulation, civil fraud, immigration, tort, tax, bankruptcy, administrative, and constitutional matters. Because of the sheer diversity of federal law, the cases that the Civil Division brings, and those it defends, reflect the significant issues of our time.
Each student will be assigned to report to, assist, and work under the supervision of two Assistant United States Attorneys. This arrangement permits continuity of assignments and familiarity with the cases of the Assistants. Diversity of assignments by Assistants 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.
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.
Interested students should immediately submit an application, transcript, résumé and writing sample (of no more than ten pages) via CAMS, the online application system. There will be no interview, but students are invited to contact the professor Sean Lane to discuss any questions concerning the course.
* 5 credits includes 3 clinical credits and 2 academic seminar credits.
** Students selected for the program 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 are advised that they must be United States citizens to be eligible for the Government Civil Litigation Clinic and that dual citizenship or residence outside of the United States for a significant period of time may complicate the security clearance process. Further, it is critical that updated contact information be provided to ensure that the required paperwork is sent to you at the correct address. This paperwork must 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.
*** A. De Tocqueville Democracy in America, 330 (Schocken ed. 1961).