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LAW 5939: Criminal Defense Practicum - 2201

Criminal Defense Practicum
Class Term:
Fall Term 2019-2020
Catalog Number:
Class Number:
Class Schedule:
5:30 pm
7:20 pm
Professor(s): Type:
3 (1 Contact, 0 Field)
Graduation Requirements:
Experiential Learning
Limited Enrollment - 3rd Year Priority
Full Year Course:
Standard Courses

Grading Details

This course will entail externship work, class attendance and participation.  The course will be graded on a pass/fail basis.  The breakdown of the grading will be as follows: 
Attendance and participation in-class:  10%
Written weekly journal:  30%
Assessment of case preparation:  10%
Assessment of in-court performance:  50%
Students will also be required to critically reflect on their previous weeks’ experiences as part of the classroom discussion by completing a written journal. Student must have at least one page of typewritten reflection per week that will be used for class discussion and academic evaluation.
Students will meet every other week with Instructor to assess their progress in a one-on-one discussion and review of written weekly journal.


This Practicum will teach law students about the practice of criminal public defense.  The class will consist of lecture and class discussions, courtroom observation, and direct in-court participation.  Students will be required to become Certified Legal Interns and will work under the direct supervision of licensed attorneys in the Pretrial and Trial Division of the Public Defender’s Office.  By the end of the semester, the following learning objectives are expected: 1. Students should have a comprehensive knowledge of the process by which criminal cases move through the system and be able to articulate the separate stages of a criminal case.  Students should be able to explain this process in an understandable and relatable way to clients. 2. Students should have knowledge of the bail and detainer process and understand how these concepts relate to incarcerated clients pre-trial, including the process of writing bond motions. 3.  Students should understand the law and ethics around representing individuals in criminal matters, and the importance of zealous, client-centered representation through hands-on experience. 4.  Students should be able to conduct a preliminary hearing from beginning to end, including cross-examination of witnesses. 5.  Students should be able to formulate compelling arguments based on the elements of the charged offenses. 6.  Students should have refined their interview skills  and be able to interview clients and extract relevant and pertinent information in preparation for preliminary hearings. Students will be expected to formulate a weekly schedule for the semester and adhere to that schedule.  The schedule will include both courtroom and office hours.

Criminal Defense Practicum