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Legal Clinics > Externship Program

Criminal Externship Program

The Criminal Law Externship serves as a vehicle by which 3L students gain understanding and insight into the major issues involved in the criminal justice system and the practice of criminal law. The practicum component of this externship is served in a field placement that allows the student extern the opportunity to learn by emersion in the criminal law field.  The practicum component allows the students to observe in practice, while working in local prosecutor offices or public defender offices, the actual application of criminal law and criminal procedure codes; the use and implication of professional and ethical responsibilities in practice; court room procedures and expectations as applied in criminal cases and in “live” court rooms proceedings; and case file management from the beginning of the criminal law case to end.  The practicum component also allows students hands on experience as they observe the issuance and service of search and arrest warrants; the issuance of indictments and filing of criminal complaints; the utilization of the “chain of command” for tangible evidence; the importance of pre-trial arguments; the importance of hearings and preparations for those hearings; and the effect of plea bargains from both the prosecutors and the defendant’s perspectives.

The practicum provides three (3) credit hours for 180 hours of work for the semester. In addition, the classroom component provides two (2) hours of credit and employs a Socratic learning pedagogy combined with opportunities for students to learn by reflective sharing of their experiences in their respective placements.

The classroom component of this externship introduces the student to the practical application of Texas Criminal Procedure from arrest to the disposition of a case.  The classroom component also provides a basis of support and foundational knowledge for Criminal Law and Criminal Law Procedure.



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