Criminal Prosecution Clinic
The Criminal Prosecution Clinic is one of KU Law's oldest clinics. It is also one of the few clinics in the nation that specializes in criminal prosecution. In the clinic, KU Law students work side by side with prosecutors in federal, state and local offices in virtually all phases of the criminal justice process. In addition to appearing in court on behalf of the prosecution in both preliminary hearings and trials, participants work closely with law enforcement agencies to develop cases, draft criminal complaints for use in issuing indictments, and help prepare appeals. Among the agencies our students work for are the following:
- U.S. Attorney's Office (Kansas)
- Kansas Attorney General
- Douglas County District Attorney's Office
- Franklin County Attorney's Office
- Johnson County District Attorney's Office
- Osage County Attorney's Office
- Wyandotte County District Attorney's Office
- Lawrence Municipal Court
Students in the Criminal Prosecution Clinic stand to gain a significant amount of courtroom experience. The clinic’s director, KU Law Professor Suzanne Valdez, brings to the learning environment her recent experience as a special prosecutor in nearby Wyandotte County, where she was commissioned for four years.
From inspiration to conviction: Margaret Mahoney, L'10
The summer after her first year of law school, Margaret Mahoney lost a dear friend and fellow law student to domestic violence. The tragedy sealed her commitment to pursue a career in criminal prosecution. As an intern at the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, Mahoney helped try a man charged with domestic battery. The victim, his girlfriend, did not show up to testify at the bench trial. Nevertheless, the prosecution got the conviction. “It was very influential for me because he’s being held accountable for his actions against her,” said Mahoney, L’10. The breadth of hands-on work that Mahoney conducted during the clinic equipped her to step immediately into the role of a prosecutor after law school. “It’s real-world experience that prepared me better than any classroom instruction could have.”
The clinic is open to third-year law students during the academic year for both the fall and spring semesters. Students may also enroll in the summer program, in which second- and third-year students may be considered for placement.