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Clinic - Criminal Defense and Advocacy

Clinic - Criminal Defense & Advocacy Fieldwork (3 credits). Clinic projects vary each semester. In past semesters, students have represented individuals facing misdemeanor criminal charges in New York City Criminal Courts and worked with survivors of human trafficking seeking post-conviction relief. Since 2020, as part of the Survivors Justice Project, clinic teams work with survivors of domestic violence incarcerated in New York State prisons, and other victims of gender-based violence who have faced criminal prosecution, in clemency and sentence reduction efforts. Clinic cases focus on how gender impacts the criminal legal process and require critical intersectional analysis. CDAC students are encouraged to reflect on their experiences and observations with survivors to help shape the kind of lawyers they want to become. Clinic participants learn to think about cases, and the needs of the people they are working with, comprehensively, guided by problem-solving and consistent reflection. Seminar (2 credits). A weekly seminar accompanies the clinic. The seminar will introduce essential lawyering skills, ethical issues in representation, and substantive criminal law and procedure. Additionally, in the seminar, students will identify best practices in client-centered and collaborative representation. Through reading, observing, simulating, critiquing and reflecting, students will gain a deeper understanding of the role of the lawyer in individual and systemic advocacy, and explore larger questions involving the complex intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, immigration status, and incarceration in the criminal legal system.