Lisa Smith

Assistant Professor of Clinical Law

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 780-0337 or (718) 780-7919 |  Email
Areas of Expertise
Criminal Law
Domestic Violence
Family Law
B.A., Franklin and Marshall College
J.D., Brooklyn Law School

Clinic - Civil Practice Externship

The Civil Practice Externship Clinic is where students put their training into practice. Students earn academic credits while working in approved placements across a wide range of practice environments including: Arts and Entertainment, Individual Rights and Representation, Corporate Counsel, Government Litigation and Counsel, and Securities and Market Regulation. Students select placements based on their interest in a particular practice area or opportunity to hone particular lawyering skills. At the placements, students are paired with a supervising Mentor Attorney to work on real legal matters, while at the law school they are supported by faculty to learn from their experience.

Fieldwork Credits: 3.00 BLS students enjoy civil externship opportunities in every industry, and in every setting including public interest organizations, government agencies, private law firms, and corporate legal offices. Depending on the placement, externships give students actual litigation and transactional experience, along with exposure to case management and workplace skills, client relations, and policy and institutional issues. Students identify the individual goals they hope to achieve through their externship so that the work experience can be structured to meet those goals. They and their Mentor Attorneys both benefit from the relationship. The students learn from working with and observing an experienced attorney, who provides close supervision and regular feedback. The attorneys refine their own skills through serving as teacher and mentor.

Seminar Credits: 1.00 Students are supported in their placement experience by the co-requisite externship seminar. The seminar is taught by faculty (fulltime and adjunct) with extensive practice credentials, and addresses a range of topics, including: reflecting on and learning from experience, ethics and professionalism, skills training, legal institutions and process, substantive law, and career development.

Enrollment Notes: Students interested in enrolling in the Civil Practice Externship Clinic may find more information on the Externships page of BLSConnect. For information on current externship opportunities, visit Symplicity. Students ordinarily may not repeat an externship in the same practice setting and placement. Exceptions may be made upon a showing of the educational benefit to be derived and subject to the approval of the Faculty Director.

Clinic - Criminal Practice Externship

Students may intern in a variety of settings in the criminal justice system. Both prosecution and defense placements are available as well as some placements in agencies. In this internship, students conduct research on issues related to criminal law, procedure and evidence, assist in drafting motions and memoranda of law, participate in case investigations and witness preparation, and generally observe motions, hearings, trials and other court proceedings. Those students working at agencies will focus more on policy and planning matters.

Seminar Credits: 1.00

Seminar: The clinic includes a 1-credit seminar.

Enrollment Notes: A student wishing to continue in the same or another placement beyond two semesters in any setting can do so only with the permission of the instructor and only upon a showing of the educational benefit to be derived, and must fulfill the requirements of the course. There will be no seminar requirement after the first semester in this externship.

Clinic - Judicial Clerkship Externship

The goal of this internship is to expose students to the judicial decision-making process through both a formal class and a fieldwork experience, and to study the work of both lawyers and judges. In the federal system, students are assigned to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and judges, magistrate judges and bankruptcy judges in the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York. In the state system, students can be assigned to work for judges in the Appellate Division, Family, Surrogates or Supreme Courts (Civil or Criminal Terms), or the Civil Court of the City of New York. In addition to providing exposure to the inner workings of the various courts, the program offers an opportunity to do legal research, prepare written memoranda and drafts of judicial opinions, and to observe in the courtroom and at pretrial conferences.

Seminar Credits: 1.00

Seminar: The externship includes a 1-credit seminar at which the students' experiences are discussed in relation to selected topics about the courts and judging.

Enrollment Notes: There is a two-semester cap on participation in this externship in any setting. Students can enroll in both the federal and state seminar if the second semester placement is in the other court system. Otherwise, a student repeating the externship in the same placement can enroll in the seminar only once.

Clinic - Prosecutors: Brooklyn District Attorney

Recommended: Criminal Procedure I and Evidence

Under the supervision of a faculty member, students work as Student Assistant District Attorneys in the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, handling all stages of the prosecution of misdemeanor cases from intake in the complaint room through final disposition. The work includes complaint drafting, motion practice, plea negotiation, interviewing and counseling witnesses, and conducting evidentiary hearings. Students also are permitted to try cases before a judge or jury. The students are personally responsible for the cases, appear in court, and learn the legal and ethical skills of prosecution by actually making the decisions the cases require.

Seminar Credits: 2.00

Seminar: The clinic includes a 2-credit seminar focusing on the legal, ethical, and skills dimensions of the prosecutor.

Enrollment Notes: Enrollment is limited to third-year students. This clinic requires a two-semester commitment.