Criminal Defense

Take a hard look at how the American criminal justice system really functions. Then work to improve it.

From the start of the Criminal Defense Clinic, you'll be out front representing clients accused of crimes in Manhattan Criminal Court and incarcerated individuals in state prison.

Under the supervision of Fordham Law Professor Cheryl Bader, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, and Professor Leonard Noisette, the former director of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, teams of students assume primary responsibility for all aspects of client representation, including establishing attorney-client relationships through interviewing and counseling, fact investigation, developing and implementing case theory, engaging in strategic decision making, drafting correspondence, motions and other court filings, negotiating with prosecutors and appearing on the record at all court appearances in NYC Criminal Court.

The Criminal Defense Clinic collaboration with the Legal Aid Society’s Video Mitigation Project, led by Nicole Mull, brings the power of video advocacy to BIPOC and low-income clients, who would not otherwise be able to employ this effective advocacy tool that clients of means utilize to achieve better case resolutions. Students conduct interviews of people relevant to their client’s life experience, craft case theories, collect essential visual material, interview clients at Rikers Island, and develop cohesive and compelling narratives to produce a video that gives voice, context and a human face to our client’s narrative.

The Criminal Defense Clinic is an interdisciplinary clinic. You will work closely with law colleagues as well as social work colleagues, under the supervision of Kaela Economos, MSW and will consult with forensic psychology colleagues pursuing their PhD’s in Fordham’ Clinical Psychology program. Your experience will be contextualized with seminar work that examines the strengths and weaknesses of a complex criminal administrative system and the role of the defense attorney.

The CDC operates on the principle that the best way to learn is within a structured and proactive environment of planning, execution and reflection. All this will take place in a supportive and reflective environment where you will learn to be your own best guide and teacher to becoming an excellent problem solver and provider of legal services.

photo of Kaela Economos 240x240
Kaela Economos