Criminal Law Practicum

Interested in criminal practice? Ready for front-line action? Want to help serve people accused of a crime who otherwise would be without access to justice?

Students enrolled in the School of Law’s criminal law practicum will actively participate in the defense of criminal cases handled by local attorneys under the Erie County Assigned Counsel Program. That program recruits the best defense attorneys to provide expert legal assistance to indigent defendants. Law students will have the opportunity to perform approximately 10 hours per week of fieldwork in this course, working alongside attorneys fighting to ensure clients rights are met and the justice system is fair.

Depending upon case needs, law students may assist assigned counsel in investigating and preparing cases for trial (including researching relevant legal and evidentiary issues, writing trial memoranda, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the case, preparing witnesses and attending the trial) as well as evaluating plea offers and sentence commitments.

Law students will also produce a brief “applied” research paper on a topic of your choice related to criminal law. These papers may be published online. In addition to working directly with assigned counsel, law students also attend evening classroom sessions to get familiar with relevant law and policy, prepare for fieldwork and discuss related issues.

Adjunct Faculty Robert Convissar
Mondays 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
4 Credits


This course satisfies four hours of the experiential learning requirement and provides the 50-hours of pro bono service required for admission to the NYS Bar.

Co/prerequisite: Criminal Procedure, New York Criminal Law or equivalent.