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LAW 0720: Criminal Litigation: Philadelphia District Attorney's Office
Fall 2021 • Section F21 • CRN 27591

Course Description

Course Description: Participants, after an intensive training period, will appear in the Philadelphia Municipal Court to handle preliminary hearings in felony cases and pretrial motions and trials in misdemeanor cases. Student experiences will be closely supervised and critically analyzed. Mock presentations and evaluations will be conducted throughout the course. Successful participants need excellent interpersonal and communication skills, flexibility and an ability to maintain their composure under stress. Students will be interacting not only with members of the judiciary before whom they appear, but also with opposing counsel, witnesses and victims of crime, some of whom may be uncooperative.Classroom Segment: All students, regardless of which days they appear in court, must be available all day (9 am-5 pm) on the first and second Wednesday of the semester for two intensive training sessions. All students, regardless of the days they appear in court, are required to participate in a classroom component from 3-5 pm each Wednesday.Court Assignment: Each student will have an assigned court day. Students will spend half of the semester assigned to felony preliminary hearings in the Criminal Justice Center. During the other half of the semester, students will be assigned to trial courtrooms in the Criminal Justice Center. Students must be available on their court day between 8 am and approximately 5 pm. After each court appearance, students must complete extensive paperwork. This must be done before the student leaves the office and entails approximately two hours of very careful preparation. Students cannot miss the class meeting to finish this work.Day Preceding Court Assignment: Each student is required to be available from 3-6 pm on the afternoon preceding each day in court to review case files with their assigned supervising attorney, and to prepare police subpoenas. Students who select Thursday as their court day can meet with their supervisors after class on Wednesday. Students must be available for approximately five to six hours, after they pick up their files, to prepare their cases and interview witnesses by telephone (witnesses cannot be called after 10 pm). Students cannot schedule any classes after 3 pm on the day preceding their court day. No student is eligible to participate in the program unless he or she is fully available as set forth above. There will not be an opportunity during the first training session for students to return to campus to drop or add other classes. Students are advised to carefully review their schedules before electing this course. Students on the waiting list, must attend the first training session. Note: Certification under Rules 321 and 322 of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is required. Students will be required to submit to a criminal record check.


Day/Time Location Note
W 9:00 AM-5:00 PM TBA First two Wednesdays
W 3:00-5:00 PM TBA Remaining of clinic; week 8 will be from 1 to 6

Additional Time Requirements

During the first half of the semester, students will be litigating felony preliminary hearings. These hearings are held at the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert Street in Philadelphia. Regardless of their trial day, all students must be available during the following times.1. All day Wednesday for the first two weeks for training sessions.2. Wednesdays from 3-5 pm after the first two weeks for the classroom portion of the clinical.3. A full day for court (8 am-7 pm)4. The afternoon preceding the court day from 3-6 pm, in the DA's office, to discuss cases and prepare subpoenas.5. The evening preceding the court day, either in the DA's office or at home, to prepare cases and telephone witnesses.Students may not schedule any late afternoon or evening classes on the day prior before the court day for preliminary hearings and two days before the court days for misdemeanor trials. Students must complete a minimum of 13 hours each week of the semester of experiential work, classroom learning, or out of class assignments.

Course Details

  • Jeff Lindy
  • Raymond Driscoll
Credit Hours

4 Credits



Course Type
  • Externship
Course Modality


Fulfills J.D. Requirement
  • Experiential/Professional Skills


Registration Info

Registration Notes

Classroom: First two Wednesdays from 9 to 5, every Wednesday thereafter from 3 to 5. One exception: week 8- class will be from 1 to 6 as the clinic transitions from preliminary hearings to misdemeanor trials. All classes located at the DAs Office third floor training room (unless noted).


You must have completed the following courses before enrolling in this course:

  • LAW 0460 (Trial Advocacy I ) or LAW 0558 (Introduction to Trial Advocacy)
  • LAW 0532 (Criminal Procedure I)
  • LAW 0540 (Evidence) (C or better)

Book List/Materials

No book purchases are required or recommended for this course.