Criminal Prosecution Clinic

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

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.

Download the Summer 2015 application (PDF)

Download the Fall-Spring application (PDF)


Suzanne Valdez

Student Experience

Erin Slinker Tomasic, L'11

After finishing her first trial with the U.S. Attorney's Office through KU Law's Criminal Prosecution Clinic, Erin Slinker Tomasic, L'11 received public commendation for her work from U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom. The case resulted in two convictions. Read the story

Clinic Video

Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks used at U.S. law schools
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 33 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,300+ alumni live in all 50 states and 18 foreign countries
  • #18 “best value” law school in the nation — National Jurist Magazine
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
  • 27th nationwide for lowest debt at graduation. — U.S. News & World Report
  • 70 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • Nearly 800 employment interviews at law school, 2012-13
  • Top 25% for number of 2013 grads hired by the nation’s largest law firms
  • 20th: for number of law alumni promoted to partner at the 250 largest law firms