Lisa Smith

Assistant Professor of Clinical Law,
Director of Criminal and Judicial Externships

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 - 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 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.


Pass/Fail only.

Clinic - Learning From Practice Seminar

Externship Clinics offer students the opportunity to learn from working on real legal matters while carefully supervised by experienced practitioners or judges in the field. Learning From Practice is the concurrent externship seminar that is required for all students who have never previously enrolled in an externship or other clinic. It is a course in professionalism designed to support the student as a newcomer to legal practice. The seminar will focus on the study of lawyers and their roles and obligations, and of legal institutions, with emphasis on learning how to learn from experience, lawyering skills and competencies, ethics and morality, cross-cultural competence, and career planning. The seminar is oriented around student engagement as members of a professional network, actively participating in roundtable discussions, small group activities, simulations, and student presentations. Students will share and interpret their fieldwork experiences and distill the lessons of professionalism in a continuous and purposeful fashion, with faculty guidance and feedback. Gradng and Method of Evaluation: Letter grade only. Students will be assessed based on several reflective writing assignments, in-class exercises and presentations, professionalism, and class participation.

Clinic - Prosecutors: Brooklyn District Attorney

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 rosecutor.

Enrollment Notes:

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