The January 2012 issue of the National Jurist ranked Brooklyn Law School among 20 of the best schools in preparing students for public service careers in the areas of government and prosecutors/public defenders.
In the category of government, the National Jurist noted that roughly 6.6 percent of law students nationwide in 2010 pursued jobs in the public sector, working for the local, state or federal government. However, this number is significantly larger at Brooklyn Law School. Slightly over 20 percent of Brooklyn Law School’s class of 2010 is working in government jobs.
Brooklyn Law School students have unparalleled opportunities while in Law School to work in the public sector through its externship program. The Law School boasts one of the largest externship programs in the country, with over several hundred students participating each summer either for credit or for a Law School funded public service grant. During the academic years, as many as 200 students work in placements throughout the metropolitan area. The Law School offers a strong curriculum in public service law that enables students to learn about a range of subjects that intersect with a career in government.
Through the Law School’s renowned clinical program, students gain critical hands-on experience working for the public interest and in the public sector. Approximately two thirds of the Law School’s students participate in clinics and/or externships at least once. As one of the most diverse and comprehensive programs of its kind, the clinical program features programs which allow students to work on behalf of immigrants, consumers, the unemployed, community non-profits, and to assure affordable housing. Students also work with such partner government agencies as the NYC Law Department and the U.S. Attorney for the EDNY.
“There is virtually no government agency, public interest organization or prosecutor’s office without a BLS student at any time of year,” said Professor Stacy Caplow, Director of the Clinical Education Program.
In the category of prosecutors/public defenders, the National Jurist recognized Brooklyn Law School for its criminal law program, which boasts an exceptional faculty, including Professor Susan Herman, a noted criminal procedure expert who is President of the ACLU, New York State Supreme Court judges, the Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, and many leading practitioners in the field. The Law School faculty’s scholarly works are influential in the field, ranging from sentencing reform (Professor Michael Cahill) to corporate compliance and white collar crime (Professor Miriam Baer) to how language issues affect the criminal justice system (Professor Lawrence Solan). Additionally, for students interested in pursuing a career in criminal law, the Law School’s Certificate in Criminal Law provides an intense exposure to the theory, doctrine and practice in this field.
The Law School has many clinics and courses designed to introduce students to the criminal justice system, including five clinics that focus solely on the areas of defense and prosecution.
Students working in the Prosecutors Clinic at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the EDNY try cases in front of U.S. Magistrate Judges, often facing students from NYU Law School as defense adversaries. Other students work on behalf of wrongfully convicted people in New York through the BLS/EXI Innocence Clinic or represent death row inmates post-conviction in federal habeas corpus petitions through the Capital Defender and Federal Habeas Clinic. Some students review trial records and draft briefs in the Criminal Appeals Defense Clinic while others write briefs for respondents’ appeals in the Criminal Appeals, Manhattan District Attorney Clinic. In both of these programs, students argue cases before the NYS Appellate Division.
Professor Lisa Smith, Director of the Prosecutors Clinic-Brooklyn District Attorney, said, “We have worked hard to establish liaison relationships at the various agencies to place our students in internships. For the past ten years, there has been a tremendous increase in the interest in the criminal justice system and there are a large number of students who come to the Law School knowing that they want to become prosecutors or criminal defense attorneys.”
Experience Professor Lisa Smith’s Prosecutor’s Clinic.
Learn more about the Criminal Law Program.