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Clinical Education Programs

Cornell Law School offers practicum legal education clinics in capital punishment, criminal defense, immigration appellate law, international human rights, the death penalty, labor law, securities law, water law, and other areas, many of which include externship postings that require that students perform a variety of tasks—client interviewing and counseling, research and writing, observation of depositions, trials, conferences, and negotiations, fact investigation, case management, et al.—that promote the development of key skills essential to the practice of law.  For a comprehensive descriptions of all of Cornell Law School's practicum clinics, please visit "Clinical Programs" in the "Academics" branch of this Web site.

Death Penalty Project

The Cornell Death Penalty Project sponsors three practicum clinics—the Capital Trial Clinic, the Capital Post-Conviction Clinic, and the Capital Appellate Clinic—that involve the representation of capital defendants. All together, the Death Penalty Project has represented some 30 death-row inmates and seven persons charged with capital crimes.  By assisting attorneys in their respective representations of capital clients, students learn how the American judicial system administers the death penalty.  Their work also helps to compensate for the closure of death-penalty "resource centers" staffed by experience lawyers, which until twenty years ago operated in many states, chiefly in the South. In its scholarly approach, the Death Penalty project is essentially empirical; it is interested in whether and to what extent the death penalty is exercised disparately on the basis of race, mental impairment, or other circumstances. On the wisdom or desirability of this ultimate sanction, the Project is neutral. It programming includes seminars and other courses related to the death penalty, as well as academic symposia, training conferences for attorneys, and related publications.

Learn more about the Death Penalty Project

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Practicum Clinics at Cornell Law School

Capital Punishment: Post-Conviction Litigation

*focuses on death penalty post-conviction litigation, especially in South Carolina.

Criminal Defense

*students work in teams to represent indigent clients in Tompkins County Courts to answer misdemeanor or other non-criminal violations.


*a variety of externship postings in either local or remote settings are available for part-time or full-time, semester-long service.

Immigration Appellate Law and Advocacy

*students represent immigrants fleeing persecution in their appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Innocence Clinic

*students do post-conviction investigation and litigation on behalf of prisoners with claims of actual innocence.

International Human Rights

*students work on a variety of projects, including filing party and amicus briefs and developing training materials for foreign judges, in and related to instances of human-rights denial, abridgement, or abuse.

Labor Law

*students provide advice and representation to labor unions, research topics in labor and employment law, and participate in and/or observe arbitration proceedings and panel discussions.

Legal Aid Clinic

*students provide civil legal services to low-income clients in Tompkins County in the first of Cornell Law School's practicum clinics.

Prosecution Trial Clinic

*students prosecute non-felony, non-injury cases in Ithaca City Court.

Regulation Room

*an open-access Web site devoted to facilitating public review and comment on the rule-making process of the U.S. government; a project of the Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative.

Securities Law Clinic

*a community outreach clinic in which students represent investors living in New York's Central Southern Tier in disputes subject to arbitration at the Financial Industry Regulation Authority, and provide public education about schemes of investment fraud, especially those aimed at retired persons and the elderly.

U.S. Attorney's Office

*students work in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York, based in Syracuse, NY, and assist in federal criminal prosecutions and the defense of federal agencies and employees in criminal cases.

Water Law

*students apply theory to practice in addressing problems and key issues in water law.


Learn more about Clinical programs

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