The basic course in Criminal Law is a prerequisite. The "Criminal Procedure: Investigation" course is a co-requisite: students who have not already taken it must do so during Part I of the CDC (fall semester). "Evidence" is also a co-requisite: students who have not already completed it must take it during the clinic year, but may do so concurrent with either Part I or Part II of the CDC. CDC students who have completed the course in "Evidence" are encouraged, but not required, to take the course in "Trial Advocacy" during the clinic year.
Each week, students participate in a two-hour seminar class that seeks to integrate legal theory with criminal defense practice. Among the topics covered in the seminar are interviewing and counseling clients, investigating the case and locating witnesses, awareness of the immigration and other collateral consequences of criminal convictions, advocating for pretrial release, conducting discovery, motion practice suppression hearings and plea negotiations. Student are introduced to important provisions of New York substantive criminal law and criminal procedure that govern misdemeanor prosecutions, and delve into challenging questions of criminal defense and prosecution ethics that they frequently encounter in their clinic experience. A case rounds model and a bi-weekly journal are incorporated so students have ample opportunity to reflect on their experiences in representing their clients and on their development as criminal defense attorneys. Students are also required to submit weekly time sheets documenting their activities at their placement site.
The seminar also includes intensive client interviewing, advocacy skills training sessions and plea negotiation simulations throughout the year that give students ample opportunity to develop the litigation and negotiation skills they need to effectively represent their clients in court.