|LW.11820 / LW.10883
Professor Karena Rahall
Professor Margaret Knight
Open to 3L and 2L students; LLMs if space is available
Maximum of 8 students
Pre-requisites/Co-requisites: Criminal Procedure** (Also see "Qualifications for Applicants")
Students in the Criminal Appellate Defender Clinic will represent a client appealing his or her felony conviction to the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department. This Clinic is conducted in conjunction with the Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD). (For more information about OAD, go to the OAD website.) The Clinic seminar consists of lectures and exercises dealing with a variety of aspects of criminal appellate defense. At the same time, students will write an appellate brief on behalf of an OAD client under the supervision of an OAD supervising attorney. Some students will have the sole responsibility for representing a client; on more complicated cases, students will work in teams. Additionally, there may be opportunities for students to be staffed on a reinvestigation case – working with OAD’s Reinvestigation Project on challenging a conviction by means of a post-verdict motion in New York County Supreme Court or Bronx County Supreme Court.
Students will represent a client appealing his or her felony conviction to the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department. Under the active supervision of an OAD supervising attorney, each student will read the hearing or trial record, research and select issues, and prepare the opening appellate brief. In addition, each student will communicate with his or her client and, where feasible, visit the client.
While preparation and filing of the reply brief and the oral argument for the case will occur after the end of the semester, where possible, students will have the opportunity - on a voluntary basis - to write the reply brief and orally argue the case.
The seminar will meet weekly at the Office of the Appellate Defender, 11 Park Place, Suite 1601, New York, NY, on Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. On occasion, there will be Clinic activities that will take place outside of this time slot. Students will be given as much notice as possible of any changes in class schedule.
The seminar portion of the class will cover three broad areas: (1) the lawyering and counseling skills necessary to represent an indigent client appealing his or her conviction; (2) substantive elements of criminal appellate advocacy (standards of review, the preservation doctrine, harmless error analysis, and remedies); and (3) brief-writing skills (including analysis of a record, issue selection, and developing a theory of the case). There will also be seminar sessions dealing with oral advocacy, challenging a conviction by means of a post-verdict motion in trial court, and other types of advocacy an appellate attorney can engage in on behalf of his or her client (for example, parole advocacy, addressing prison-related problems, immigration matters, social work assistance).
Qualifications for Applicants
Criminal Procedure is a pre- or co-requisite. Evidence is also preferred as a pre- or co-requisite.
The Office of the Appellate Defender represents indigent defendants in cases from Bronx and New York Counties. To avoid any possible conflict of interest, students who are likely to have pending applications for employment with either the Bronx or New York County (Manhattan) District Attorneys’ Offices may not be able to participate in the clinic.
Please submit the standard clinic application, resume and unofficial transcript, using CAMS, the online application system. There will be no interview. If you have questions regarding the clinic, contact either Karena Rahall or Margaret Knight.
* 5 credits include 3 clinical credits and 2 academic seminar credits.
** Evidence is also preferred as a pre- or co-requisite.