The Criminal Defense Clinic is a four-credit, one-semester course which provides eligible students with a rigorous and intensive exposure to criminal defense practice through a combination of actual trial practice and classroom work. Students are assigned to work in a public defender's office, where they defend criminal cases in the trial or juvenile courts. After a short orientation, students are given a docket of cases for which they are responsible. Under the supervision of an assistant public defender, the students engage in investigations, plea bargain negotiations, motions practice, and criminal trials to the court. In addition, students have many opportunities to evaluate different styles of lawyering by watching criminal trial lawyers in action. To supplement and refine their practice experience, students attend a weekly class in which they discuss their pending cases and what they have encountered in court. Students must be eligible for certification under the relevant state student practice rule. This course is graded on a pass/fail basis.

Registration Information

To register, students must complete the Arlington Criminal Defense Clinic Form and submit it to Dean Bryan McDermott at

In addition to consideration given to the responses provided in the application, preference in allocation of spots will be given as follows:

  1. Students who have not yet had a clinical experience.
  2. By the date and time of submission of their application.

*Across all categories, 3D and 4E students are given priority. 

Questions? Email Dean McDermott at