Advocacy of Criminal Cases

This course introduces students to the law and skills involved in criminal practice, including a semester-long case simulation to help students hone the skills they learn.

Advocacy of Criminal Cases

Advocacy of Criminal Cases (ACC) introduces students to the law and skills involved in criminal practice. The topics covered include charging, arrest and pre-trial release, discovery, suppression and exclusion of evidence, and trial. The skills developed include information acquisition (interviewing, direct and cross examination, and drafting discovery requests), development of a case theory, case planning, and persuasion (memoranda of law, oral argument and summation). The course follows New York’s penal and criminal procedure laws and rules of evidence. The twice weekly seminars alternate between skills exercises, discussion of criminal law, procedure and ethics, and simulations of the major stages of a criminal case from post-arrest through jury trial. Throughout the semester, student litigation teams consisting of two prosecutors and two defense attorneys, each supervised by faculty, litigate a single criminal case.

The semester-long case simulation includes interviews (police, client and witness), arraignments (local criminal and superior courts), a probable cause hearing, scheduling conferences, plea negotiations, a suppression hearing and argument, and a full-day jury trial. In addition, students draft accusatory instruments, discovery and suppression motions, memoranda of law, and requests to charge. Approximately half of the seminar sessions are devoted to focused skill exercises and drills as well as discussion designed to prepare the students for their roles in the semester-long case simulation.

Approved for the Experiential Learning Requirement. Trial Advocacy may not be taken in the same semester as ACC. Enrollment is limited. Registration is binding. Application and Mandatory Information Session are required, and the application can be found on the Office of Clinical and Experiential Learning section of the NYLS Portal.

Recommended for the Following Professional Pathways: Criminal Defense; Criminal Prosecution; General Practice – Litigation/Dispute Resolution

Prerequisites: Criminal Law; Evidence.

Prerequisite or Co-requisite: Criminal Procedure: Investigation; Criminal Procedure: Adjudication.

If taken as co-requisites, courses should be taken concurrently with the course in the spring semester. Requirement may be waived by clinic faculty.

6 Credits


Business and Financial Services

Intellectual Property and Privacy

Government and Public Interest Law

General Practice / Chart Your Path





Graduation Requirements