Juvenile Defender Clinic

LW.11444 / LW.10531
Professor Randy Hertz
Open to 3L students only
Maximum of 12 students
Year-long course
14 credits*
Pre-requisites/Co-requisites: Criminal Procedure and Evidence are recommended**


The Juvenile Defender Clinic is a year-long, 14-credit course that focuses on the representation of juveniles who have been charged with committing crimes. The clinic involves a mixture of fieldwork, seminars on criminal and juvenile law and litigation skills, and participation in simulated trials and hearings.

Course Description


Each student will work with the teacher of the clinic and the Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Practice (JRP) division in representing children accused of crimes in New York Family Court delinquency proceedings. The clinic is designed to allow students to experience all stages of the juvenile/criminal process. Students work on all aspects of the process, including arraignment, investigation, drafting of motions, motions arguments, negotiation, client counseling, suppression hearings, trial, and sentencing (which, in Family Court, may take the form of a contested evidentiary hearing).

The Seminar

For the first five weeks of the fall semester, the seminar will focus on New York criminal and juvenile law and procedure, so as to prepare students for representing juvenile clients accused of crimes in Family Court delinquency proceedings. For the remainder of the fall semester and throughout the spring semester, students will participate in simulated hearings and trials that are designed to teach the range of skills involved in trial practice. After covering the basic skills of witness examination and trial-level argument, these simulations will focus on the ways in which lawyers use a "theory of the case" to guide their witness examinations and the host of tactical judgments that must be made when cross-examining adverse witnesses, making objections, presenting one's own witnesses, and arguing a case to a judge or jury.

The seminar also will be used to discuss ethical, strategic and systemic issues that arise in the cases in which students are involved. Several sessions of the seminar will be devoted to an examination of the criminal and juvenile justice systems. 

Qualifications for Applicants

Students in the clinic are expected to have previously taken either Criminal Procedure or Criminal Litigation, but this course may be taken concurrently with the clinic, preferably in the fall semester. A prior course on evidence is recommended but not required.

Application Procedure

Students should submit an application, resume and transcript on-line via CAMS. Leomaris Sanchez will contact you to schedule an interview with Randy Hertz. If you have questions, you can direct them either to Ms. Sanchez at (212) 998-6477 or via email or to Randy Hertz.

Student Contacts

Students who are interested in learning more about the course may wish to speak with the following students who are currently in the clinic:

Danielle Altchiler
Jesse Chung
Eloisa Cleveland
Matt Escalante
Bailey Jackson
Zakiya Lewis
Mariela Mannion
Justin McCarroll
Devin McCowan
Ninan Pollack
Padraic Sieber
Miriam Thorne


* 14 credits include 3 clinical credits and 4 academic seminar credits per semester.

** Any of these courses may be taken concurrently with the clinic.