Hofstra Law

Defender Clinic

Professor Elizabeth M. Nevins-Saunders, Attorney-in-Charge
Maximum Enrollment: 8 Students

Students in the Defender Clinic represent indigent clients charged with low-level offenses primarily in Nassau County District Court.

Clinic interns provide the entire range of legal representation, from initial interview to sentencing.

Courtroom advocacy includes:

  • arraignments,
  • bail arguments,
  • bench conferences,
  • evidentiary hearings,
  • oral arguments on motions,
  • bench and jury trials,
  • plea dispositions and sentencings.

Lawyering skills practiced outside the courtroom include:

  • interviewing,
  • counseling,
  • fact and crime scene investigation,
  • negotiation with assistant district attorneys,
  • and researching and drafting motions and other memoranda.

Students may also represent clients in related proceedings including 440 motions to vacate pleas based on Padilla violations or parole revocation, school suspension, and Department of Motor Vehicle hearings where these hearings arise from the facts of the criminal case.

In order to perform their court responsibilities, students must keep Tuesday and Thursday mornings (9 a.m. -1 p.m.) free from all other obligations.

Students will meet for seminars, rounds, and individual & team meetings during the term, in addition to court appearances. Criminal Procedure I and Evidence are pre- requisites or co-requisites for admission to the Clinic. Trial practice experience (mock trial, NITA classes, etc.) strongly recommended.