Local Prosecution Externship

LW.12452 / LW.12453
Professor Evan Krutoy
Professor Megan McDermott
Open to 2L and 3L students; LL.M.s if space is available*
Maximum number of students: 10-12

Spring semester
5 credits**
No pre-requisites


The District Attorney’s Offices in both Manhattan and Brooklyn are national leaders in the prosecution of state crimes, including homicide, fraud, cyber crime, public corruption, domestic violence, and sex crimes. The Local Prosecution Externship is designed to immerse students in local prosecution, and to build concrete lawyering skills that lie at the heart of the prosecutorial function and exercise of discretion -- the interviewing, evaluation, and presentation of witnesses. Students will be guided in appropriate investigative and prosecutorial techniques involving witness evaluation, preparation, and presentation, and will learn how an investigation transitions into either a prosecution or a closed case. As our students are exposed to the myriad issues confronting prosecutors, they will learn how to approach and resolve difficult ethical issues, understand the scope and challenges of the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, and begin to develop a sense of how prosecutors think. The course combines two closely connected components: fieldwork in the Manhattan or Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office (a minimum of 12 to 15 hours per week, depending on the specific assignment) and a weekly seminar that will support and supplement the on-site fieldwork. The seminar will employ a combination of readings, discussion, simulation and fieldwork case rounds so that every student achieves the goals of the externship.

Course Description


Each student will be assigned to an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan or Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to perform at least 12-15 hours of fieldwork per week, depending on the assignment. The student will assist the assigned Assistant District Attorney in the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases. Each student will be exposed to the stages of a criminal prosecution, with particular emphasis on the evaluation, preparation and use of witnesses at both the investigative and prosecutorial stages. Students will conduct legal research and sit in on meetings with law enforcement, and observe arraignments, hearings, trials, and sentencing.


The weekly seminar will build on and examine the fieldwork through clinical case rounds in which students will work together to help to solve problems, plan tasks, and analyze observations. Prior to every session, each student is expected to identify an issue gleaned from his/her fieldwork to present to the class for discussion and analysis. All students will be required to come prepared to engage in this process. Each student will have an opportunity to present the issue to the class, which will collectively discuss the various investigative and/or prosecutorial techniques available in that particular case, and the possible consequences resulting from their use. In addition to weekly case rounds, the seminar will regularly require students to discuss critical readings and to engage in intensive simulations to build concrete lawyering skills. Each student will also submit, on a bi-weekly basis, a reflection paper that discusses an issue of interest related to the fieldwork or the seminar readings.

The seminar will also include simulation exercises in which each student will have the opportunity to participate.

Application Procedure

Students should submit the standard application, a resume and a grade transcript via CAMS. Selected students will be contacted by Professor McDermott for an interview with the course instructors and representatives of the Manhattan and/or Brooklyn District Attorney’s Offices. If you have any questions, please contact Professor McDermott.

Equal Opportunity Employer: The New York and Kings County District Attorney’s offices are firmly committed to a policy against discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital or veteran status.

Student Contacts

The following students are or were enrolled in the Local Prosecution Externship:

Dave Barenholtz
Dan Cohen
Alannah Colley
Emma Grover
Jack Hipkins
Peihong Situ
Carolina Yu

* Consult the Clinics Open to LL.M. Students page to see if the clinic is available to LL.M.s in the current year. Please note there is a separate application form for LL.M.s. The deadline is different from that for JDs and is posted on the Clinic Application Timelines page.

** 5 credits include 3 clinical credits and 2 academic seminar credits. Seminar component will be graded. Fieldwork will be assessed on a credit/fail basis.