S Course Finder • Penn Carey Law

Course Details

Externship: Conviction Integrity Unit - Philadelphia District Attorney's Office (Rudovsky/Hollway)

Spring 2023   LAW 816-001  

« Back to Search Results

David Rudovsky

Senior Fellow

John F. Hollway

Executive Director & Lecturer in Law

Additional Information
Experiential Course


Skills Training
Oral Presentations
Drafting Legal Documents
Other Professional Skills:

100% Other (Fieldwork and grading is pass/fail.)

Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement



Class meets in person.

Meeting Times/Location




The CIU reviews claims of actual innocence, official misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel, and cases with substantial disparities in sentencing. The DAO also relies on the CIU to help develop and implement prosecutorial best practices in the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases to prevent wrongful convictions, to address issues of prosecutorial and police misconduct, and to ensure a higher level of integrity and fairness in the criminal justice system. The core purpose of the Penn Law/CIU externship program (which would be the first of its kind in the nation’s law schools) is to involve law students at each critical stage of case review of actual innocence claims and claims of wrongful conviction. Law School affiliated innocence projects have been successful in harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of law students in the investigation of and remedying of wrongful convictions. Similar work in a prosecutor’s CIU will have equal if not greater advantages to students, the law school and the District Attorney’s Office (DAO).

The CIU externship program will allow for traditional lawyering skills development such as witness interviewing, fact gathering, legal research, and writing which are transferable to any lawyering context, and the program is uniquely designed to help develop investigative and case assessment skills and the students’ understanding of the workings of the criminal justice system as a whole. Faculty supervision for the externship program will be assigned by the Law School, and will require students to meet bi-weekly with their faculty supervisor. The externship will be offered for 7 credits, requiring a minimum of 21 hours of work per week.

Students are not permitted to enroll in this Externship if also enrolled in another Clinic or Externship in the same semester. Students who elect to use their enrollment in this Externship toward their public service requirement will receive one fewer credit for this course, in exchange for 35 hours of TPIC credit (students should contact TPIC to arrange for the credit exchange). Be certain to review the "Enrollment Procedures for Clinical Courses" section on the Registrar's website.

ADD/DROP FOR EXTERNSHIPS: The placement site incurs a substantial amount of time and investment in the program and is burdened by drops that occur after enrollment has been announced. As such, students should not register for this Externship if they are uncertain about remaining in the course. Please email externships@law.upenn.edu with any questions.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST & BACKGROUND CHECK: The placement site may ask you to complete a background check or a conflicts of interest check based upon prior, current or future employment and pro bono work. If asked to complete either or both of these, enrollment in the Externship is dependent upon clearing the check.

Course Concentrations

Skills Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of the individual course skill; Demonstrate the ability to receive and implement feedback; Demonstrate an understanding of how and when the individual course skill is employed in practice.

Criminal Law and Procedure Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of criminal law and procedure; Perform legal analysis in the context of criminal law and procedure; Communicate effectively on topics related to criminal law and procedure; Demonstrate an understanding of the role criminal law and procedure play in society and their impact on other areas of law and society.

Public Interest Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of the varied legal aspects of public interest law; Perform legal analysis in the context of public interest law; Communicate effectively on topics related to public interest law; Demonstrate an understanding of how public interest law is connected to and affected by a wide variety of legal and regulatory structures and doctrines.