Criminal Externship Overview (State Court System)

Public Defender/Regional Conflict Counsel and State Prosecutor

Students are placed in prosecution and public defense offices throughout Florida, and actively participate in the processing of cases in the criminal justice system. The 3-credit clerking program may also be available at other locations throughout the United States, and students may identify an office interested in sponsoring their externship. Please contact Professor Krieger or Lauren Manders for details.

There are three distinct programs, clerking (3 credits), certified part-time (6 credits), and litigation (9 or 12 credits), based on differing credit, time commitment, “CLI” certification or not, and assigned responsibilities, all explained below. Read the descriptions carefully to distinguish the differing credits, activities and responsibilities, eligibility, and prerequisites. All programs run for the full 13-week semester except as noted for some summer options.

Summary of Main Eligibility Differences: The litigation program (9 or 12 credits) requires completion of either Criminal Practice Clinic or Trial Practice, and Florida Bar background clearance (to qualify for Certified Legal Intern/”CLI” status). The certified part-time program also requires Florida Bar background clearance/CLI status); Criminal Practice Clinic or Trial Practice are strongly recommended but not required. Clerking (3 credit) students do not need CLI status, nor either practice course prerequisite.

If you are qualifying for the litigation program (for either 9 or 12 credits) by taking Trial Practice: Trial Practice does not include any of the comprehensive instruction in pretrial skills provided in the Criminal Practice Clinic course (nor other key parts of that course), so you will purchase the CPC materials to read, and will write summaries and experience papers during the externship related to these materials.  You should read most of this material before the externship begins, since summaries occur from the start of the externship.  Students taking the clerking or certified part-time program  will have assigned readings on pretrial skills during the externship, with related to papers to complete at that time.

Selection: Students provide a statement of purpose with their application, and are matched with offices and divisions based on a number of considerations, including training, certification status, background, interest, and personality qualities. Interviews may be required by the externship faculty and/or the placement office.

The prosecutor/defender externships are rigorous experiences which require each student to display initiative, focused attention, developed interpersonal skills, and organization. Students whose previous record creates questions about these qualities will receive reduced priority and may be deferred.

S/U Credits: All programs are ungraded; all students (and especially transfers) should be aware of the number of permitted S/U credits toward graduation before applying for these programs. Students are permitted, with written notice and after consultation with the externship faculty, to enroll in a program for less than the full number of credits offered, provided the student undertakes the full program as established.

Can you enroll in BOTH a litigation and clerking or part-time program? Yes, students strongly interested in criminal practice experiences may do both programs, with the following limitations:

1. Generally students would take the clerking program first and, if further interested, then gain certification and take the litigation program (must be for minimum of 30 hrs/week for full semester, regardless of credits enrolled for, and provide student with a substantial caseload to manage).  In this case the programs will provide very different learning experiences as a matter of course, and both programs may be taken for up to their maximum credit (15 total) toward graduation requirements.

2. On a trial basis, students may also take the litigation program first, as described above, and then the clerking program. Absent special circumstances, a maximum of 12 total credits for both programs will apply toward graduation requirements. 

3.  IN ALL CASES, students combining any two such programs must have approval in writing from Professor Krieger BEFORE enrolling for the second program.

4. Students may NOT combine two clerking programs, nor a clerking and a certified/litigation program that involved less than 390 hours of participation at the work site, because the experiences will not differ sufficiently to justify credit for both programs.

Professor Krieger must approve any student wishing to enroll for two such programs, so plan ahead and contact him well in advance to seek approval.  

Can you enroll in two part-time programs?  You may not combine two clerking programs, two certified part-time programs, or one of each, since the level of function and the skills learned in these programs largely overlap.  Remember, however, that externships permit you, with prior written approval of the faculty externship director, to enroll for less credit than you are actually earning (so it is possible to do a part-time and a litigation program per the guidelines in the preceding section, but enroll for only the credit you need for graduation.)

More specifics for these three programs follow. 

Litigation Criminal Externship

12 credits: (Fall/Spring/Summer: 40 hours/week, 13 weeks; no other courses allowed), OR

9 credits: (during Fall or Spring: 30 hours/week, 13 weeks, one other 2- or 3-credit course permitted; during Summer: 40 hours/week for 10 weeks, no other course allowed)

Number of Positions: There are currently 6-9 placements each, for prosecution and Public Defender (not including Regional Conflict Counsel), available in Tallahassee, Quincy, Monticello and Crawfordville, and numerous other offices throughout the state encourage student participation.

Students are supervised in representation of the state or defense in criminal cases. Activities generally include witness or client interviewing, plea negotiation, motion practice, and hearings or trials as available. Interested students should be aware that these externships, like the actual work of a prosecutor or public defender, involve a large amount of case processing, plea negotiations, and the like. A student’s time is therefore not primarily spent in trials, and again reflects the reality of a prosecutor or defender in practice.

The Perspectives segment of the Litigation program is substantial throughout the semester. It includes daily reflective journals, regular reports, web-based discussions based on review of the Criminal Practice Clinic materials, and other interaction with the faculty supervisor.

Prerequisites:

TRACK ONE: Students must have satisfactorily completed Evidence, Professional Responsibility and the Criminal Practice Clinic course (“S” grade generally required). Criminal Procedure—Police is also required unless student obtains a written waiver from Professor Krieger for approved self-study, when applying for the Criminal Practice Clinic (CPC) course.  Students must also have clearance from The Florida Bar, and be certified pursuant to the Student Practice Rule. The Externship office will pursue certified Legal Intern (CLI) status for eligible students once they are confirmed to participate in the Externship.

TRACK TWO:  Evidence, Professional Responsibility, and Trial Practice.  Criminal Procedure—Police is also required unless student obtains a written waiver from Professor Krieger for approved self-study, at least 6 months before beginning the externship. Track Two also requires that you (1) purchase and read the Criminal Practice Clinic Materials, largely before the externship begins, and (2) write summaries and experience papers related to those materials during the externship. These requirements reflect the fact that, while both courses teach trial skills, Trial Practice does not include any of the comprehensive instruction in pretrial and other important skills provided in the Criminal Practice Clinic course.

Strongly Recommended Courses: Florida Criminal Practice, and Criminal Procedure—Adjudication.

Selection: Students provide a statement of purpose with their application, and are matched with offices and divisions based on a number of considerations, including training, certification status, background, interest, and personality qualities. Interviews may be required by the externship faculty and/or the placement office.

 

Clerking (3 credits) and Certified Part-time (6 credit) Criminal Externships

6 credits: (during Fall/Spring: 20 hours/week, 13 weeks, up to 9 other credits allowed; during Summer: 30 hours/week for 9 weeks, up to 2 other credits allowed), OR

3 credits: (during Fall/Spring: 14 hours/week, 13 weeks, up to 11 other credits allowed; during Summer: 20 hours/week for 9 weeks, up to 4 other credits allowed)

Number of Positions: 2-3 in each local (Second Circuit) office, and in other offices statewide (contact Professor Krieger for details).

Students will generally assist attorneys in their representation or prosecution of indigent criminal defendants, and may conduct fact investigation, process discovery, interview clients or witnesses, research and draft memoranda or pleadings, and assist attorneys in court. Some appellate work may also be included. In addition, 6-credit students will have CLI status and thus may, if opportunities are available, advise clients, negotiate pleas, and, less likely, participate in limited motions or trials (all based on student’s schedule and case availability).

Students participate 14 or 20 hours (depending on credit) per week on site, generally in half-day or longer blocks of time. Some morning hours are preferred.

The Perspectives segment of the program is substantial throughout the semester. It includes daily reflective journals and regular reports/evaluations. In addition, all students taking either program (3 or 6 credits) will engage in a self-study of pretrial skills materials, write a report/summary of those materials and write short summaries and related experience papers during the externship semester.

Eligibility:   Three credits:  Students may participate after two semesters in good standing (no special prerequisites), and may apply whether or not they will be certified for student practice (“CLI”).  Completion of Evidence is recommended but not required.

Six credits: Students must have Florida Bar background clearance so they qualify for CLI status.       Evidence is required.

Two Defense/Prosecution Programs: See explanation of limitations in introductory section above.

Certification:  CLI status is required for the 6-credit program. Students seeking certification must be cleared by the Florida Bar and also have completed Professional Responsibility. For applicants seeking certification and who provide evidence of background clearance by the Florida Bar, the Externship Office pursues certification (CLI status) with the Supreme Court of Florida.

Recommended Courses: Criminal Procedure—Police, Florida Criminal Practice, Criminal Procedure—Adjudication, Criminal Practice Clinic or Trial Practice (for 6 credit students)

Selection: Students provide a statement of purpose with their application, and are matched with offices and divisions based on a number of considerations, including training, certification status, background, interest, and personality qualities. Interviews may be required by the externship faculty and/or the placement office.