The clinics at NYLS give students an invaluable opportunity to develop practical legal skills while learning to advance fairness and equity in the law.

Post-Conviction Innocence Clinic



The PCIC represents a small number of clients who have been convicted of serious crimes in New York State but who present a colorable claim of actual innocence that cannot be proven through DNA evidence alone. NY Criminal Procedure Law §440.10 creates a pathway for such clients to request reversal of their conviction based upon newly discovered evidence.

The Clinic

The Post-Conviction Innocence Clinic (“PCIC”) provides an opportunity for 2L and 3L day and 3L and 4L evening students to represent clients in post-conviction matters under the direct supervision of a faculty member.

PCIC students represent our clients in teams. Students engage in fact investigations geared towards filing post-conviction motions by tracking down court records and transcripts, locating and conferring with prior counsel, conducting prison interviews of clients, and locating and interviewing witnesses. Students develop legal arguments and draft affidavits and memoranda of law.

In addition to our case work, students attend an hour-and-forty minute seminar once weekly. In seminar we discussion the progress of our cases, as well as relevant criminal law, procedure and evidence, and we examine the policy issues related to wrongful convictions and claims of actual innocence.

Students should expect to devote a minimum of 16 hours per week to the clinic, including the fieldwork and the seminar.

PCIC quote

Links and Logistics

Instructor: Distinguished Adjunct Professor Adele Bernhard
One Semester Course Fall or Spring, Seminar: 2 Credits, Fieldwork: 2 Credits
Prerequisites: Evidence (3Ls and 4LEs), Criminal Procedure-Adjudication (recommended)
Co-requisites: Evidence (2Ls and 3LEs)
Course Description: Post-Conviction Innocence Clinic
To Apply to the Post-Conviction Innocence Clinic, please visit the OCEL Application Information Page