Programs and Classes


Law Students participate in simulated adjudications/trials.

For 2013-2014, CJJ is focused on our JLWOP/Innocence and Shackling Projects.

The Juvenile Defender Externship is an opportunity for law students to become involved in the reform of the juvenile justice system as well-trained, thoroughly prepared, zealous advocates  as they learn trial advocacy skills and gain courtroom experience with close supervision and team support.  The students can be from any law school as externs.  Arrangements must be made in advance for credit.



The Juvenile Defender Program is a semester long off-campus externship that focuses on the representation of juveniles who have been charged with committing crimes. The program involves a mixture of fieldwork, lectures on criminal and juvenile law and litigation skills, and participation in simulated trials and hearings.  We also offer externships for 1Ls and 2Ls which allow for students to gain experience in juvenile delinquency work and participate in educational outreach programs to the community and our youth.  These law students can also apply for externships in our JLWOP/Innocence Project.


Course Description




Each student will work with the instructors, experienced juvenile defense attorneys, in representing children accused of crimes in delinquency proceedings in Colorado.  The is designed to allow students to experience all stages of the juvenile justice process; including the client interview, detention hearing, advisement, preliminary hearing, transfer hearing, investigation, drafting of motions, motion hearings, plea negotiations, client counseling, staffing with community representatives, adjudicatory trial, any sentencing hearing as well as post-dispositional advocacy.  This is a serious time commitment, plan on classroom time, two hours twice per week, reading assignments, preparation for simulations and then the preparation and handling of your assigned cases.




During the first few weeks, lectures will focus on Colorado criminal and juvenile law and procedure so as to prepare students for representing juvenile clients accused of crimes in delinquency proceedings.  For the remainder of the term, students will participate in simulated hearings and trials that are designed to teach the range of skills involved in trial practice, along with appearing in court on their assigned cases.  Students will be supervised in court by the instructors and will be expected to present to the class and the instructor the plan for the next court date.  The classroom also will be used to discuss ethical, strategic and systemic issues that arise in the cases in which students are involved.  Several sessions of the classroom component will be devoted to an examination of the criminal and juvenile justice systems.  To provide students with additional information about the juvenile justice system, students will tour juvenile detention and correctional facilities.  Additionally, speakers from placement programs or formerly detained youth may present to the students on topics relevant to the issues in the system.


Qualifications for Applicants


This program where the Student Practice Act allows for a law student who has completed two years of law school can practice law under supervision so therefore is only open to 3L students and the maximum capacity is 8 students.  Students in the program are expected to either have completed a course in Criminal Procedure or are enrolled concurrently with this program as a co-requisite.  A prior course in Evidence and Trial Advocacy is recommended but not required.  A course in Juvenile Law is also helpful but not required.  1Ls and 2Ls may also apply for an externship and would participate in all the program components except law practice under supervision and may use the application form below. 


Application Procedure


Students should submit an application online, resume and transcript should be emailed to the  Executive Director, Lisa A. Polansky, and qualified students will be contacted for a personal interview.  Arrangements for credit at your law school at should be completed before enrollment is finalized.  Pertinent links to experiential programs and externship programs at the local law schools in Colorado are provided below for your convenience.  Applicants should be eligible and apply for a minimum of 3 credits if applying as a certified law student and 2 credits as a non-certified law student.


Email Lisa Polansky at