Students who have completed two years of law school may be eligible for Florida Supreme Court Certification, which will allow them to participate in the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office Clinical Program. In order to qualify for such certification, the student must receive credit for the program and must receive approval from the Dean of his/her law school to participate in such a program and to attain pre-graduation certification from the Florida Supreme Court.
Program students in theMiami-Dade State Attorney's Office can expect to be assigned to one of the following divisions in the office. To a great extent, your experience will depend on the number of hours you are available and how much flexibility you have with your schedule. Although minimum time requirements and recommended schedules for each division are listed as a guide for students, in order to facilitate training and to be available to try cases whenever they are set, you are encouraged to be available as many hours as possible. Even if you are only able to devote 20 hours to the internship, it would be helpful if your classes are scheduled in the evening.
Assignment to this division involves complete handling of both misdemeanor and felony crimes in a non-jury setting. Trials are set during the mornings in this Division; but are often heard in the afternoon. Your school schedule should, therefore, allow you to be in our office at least 3 full mornings each week; however full days are best.
B. Domestic Crimes
Practice in this division requires exceptional communication skills, as there is intense and substantial victim and witness contact. There is special emphasis on case investigation and preparation due to the nature of the crimes committed and the relationship between all parties involved. In addition to jury trials, Certified Legal Interns will be able to participate in bench trials, report calendars, probation violation hearings and motion practice. Interns must possess exceptional organizational and analytical skills. Ideal candidates are those who are sensitive to domestic violence issues.
Trial calendars are Mondays through Thursdays at 8:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Probation violation hearings are held on Fridays. Ideal schedule should allow interns to work two consecutive days.
Circuit Court - Criminal Division
This experience will involve research and assistance in trial preparation for one of the felony division level attorneys. While the student may sit as second counsel of most cases which go to trial; he/she may serve as lead counsel on certain cases designated by his/her supervising attorney. Calendars are heard at 9:00 a.m. and trials can be heard in the late morning or in the afternoon on any day of the week. It is, therefore, not possible to recommend a schedule for students. However, a combination of mornings and full afternoons is usually best. In order to be able to participate in trials as much as possible, it is also necessary that students assigned to the Felony Division have some flexibility in their scheduling. Assignment to this division will not afford as much courtroom time as County Court or Juvenile, since trial weeks for the respective supervising attorneys are scheduled every three weeks. There will be more case preparation time in this division than in County Court or Juvenile.
The Child Support Division of the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office handles paternity, child support establishment and enforcement cases. Responsibilities for clinical interns will include preparing and making appearances at bench trials; researching family law issues; drafting motions; coordinating hearing dates with opposing counsel; calculating child support guidelines and arrears; reviewing discovery requests and responses; and helping the Assistant State Attorneys with case management.
Interns must work a minimum of 20 hours per week. Cases are generally scheduled in the mornings; therefore, interns' schedules should permit them to work at least 3 mornings per week. The office is located in downtown Miami, where parking is limited and very expensive. However, the building is easily accessed by Metrorail.
To some extent, the experience the students can expect to receive will depend upon the particular assignment. In general, however, the student will receive experience in the following areas:
Students will receive orientation in the resources and functions of the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office and the other agencies involved in the criminal justice system. They will also receive training and/or training materials regarding professional responsibility and ethics, relations with victims and other witnesses, Judges, court personnel, police officers and the public, and in the practice and procedures of the various courts. There are periodic training sessions in the office for further instruction in case preparation, criminal law and trial practice. There will also be the opportunity for general discussion of daily problems and their solutions.
The experience gained through the Program is given considerable weight if a clinical program student applies for post-graduation employment with this office. However, even if a student does not eventually join one of the agencies involved in the criminal justice system, an assignment in this office as a clinical student offers the unique opportunity to become familiar with the operation of the criminal justice system.
Applicants are subject to a criminal background check and clearance prior to acceptance. Therefore, it is necessary that the application provided by the Clinical Internship Coordinator be returned without delay to facilitate placement.