State Criminal Defense Practicum - 2211

State Criminal Defense Practicum
Class Term:
Fall Term 2020-2021
Catalog Number:
Class Number:
Class Schedule:
Professor(s): Type:
4 (1 Contact, 3 Field)
Graduation Requirements:
Experiential Learning
General Enrollment Course
Full Year Course:
Standard Courses

Additional Information

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 understand the law and ethics around representing individuals in criminal

matters, and the importance of zealous, client-centered representation through hands-on experience.

3. Students who are certified should be able to conduct a preliminary hearing, including cross-examination of witnesses.

4. Students should be able to formulate compelling arguments based on the elements of the

charged offenses.

5. Students should have refined their interview skills and be able to interview clients and extract

relevant and pertinent information.

Students will be expected to formulate a weekly schedule for the semester and adhere to that schedule.

Grading Details

This course will entail externship work, class attendance and participation, in-class presentations, and reflective journal papers.  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%

In-class presentations:  20%

Written weekly journal: 20%

Assessment of in-court (or in-office) performance: 50%


This Practicum will teach law students about the practice of criminal defense, with field placement coordinated with the Allegheny County Public Defender’s office. The class will consist of lecture and class discussions, courtroom observation, and direct in-court participation. This class is open to all students.  Students who have completed Evidence will be required to become Certified Legal Interns, working under the direct supervision of attorneys in the Pretrial and Trial Division of the Public Defender’s Office.  Students who have not completed Evidence will participate in observation and client interaction

State Criminal Defense Practicum