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.