Recognizing not only that training the next generation of appellate lawyers furthers CAL’s core mission, but also that introducing law students to the legal and systemic challenges faced by persons convicted of crimes improves access to justice, CAL is closely involved with Columbia Law School. In the fall semester of each year, Carl Kaplan and Mark Zeno conduct the criminal appeals externship at Columbia Law School, where they serve on the adjunct faculty.
The program offers carefully selected law students the opportunity to partner with a highly experienced CAL attorney in representing clients assigned to us by the First Department. Under the CAL attorneys’ close supervision, second- and third-year law students review trial records and transcripts, identify legal issues, conduct legal research, and draft an appellant’s brief. Students meet weekly in both a formal classroom setting where they’re taught the specifics of New York appellate criminal practice, and one-on-one with the supervising CAL attorney to craft their client’s appellate brief. Students are also offered the opportunity to argue their cases in a moot court setting, and then before the Appellate Division, First Department.