Date Submitted: Mon, 10 Feb 2020 14:03:03 GMT

LAW 1629 v00 : Independent Defense

Last edit: Sun, 19 Jan 2020 17:18:04 GMT

Druthers submitted by: cg1121
Spring 2021
JD Adjunct
UserID Name Email
cg1121 Gerstein, Charles
LAW 1629 v00: Independent Defense
Independent Defense
W 5:45-7:45p
Special Requirement


Students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).


Prior coursework on Criminal Procedure, First Amendment Law, and/or Employment Law are recommended but not required.

Students may not concurrently enroll in this course and a clinic or another practicum course. Students may concurrently enroll in this course and an externship.

This course is suitable for evening students; project work does not need to be completed during business hours.

This is a five credit course. Two credits will be awarded for the two-hour weekly seminar and three credits will be awarded for approximately 15 hours of supervised project work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks. Both the seminar portion and the project work will be graded.

Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and project components and may not take either component separately. After Add/Drop, a student who wishes to withdraw from a practicum course must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student. A student who is granted permission to withdraw will be withdrawn from both the seminar and project components.

Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and fieldwork placements. Students in project-based practicum courses are similarly required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, fieldwork, or project work, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible to discuss the absence. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar (out of 13 total seminar sessions), or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work (out of a total of 11 weeks of fieldwork or project work), may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.

Would you like to offer the Pass/Fail grading option?

Does this course qualify as a "simulation course"?

Is this course available to distance students?

Is this a mandatory Pass-Fail course?


Personal Information


Charlie Gerstein is a lawyer at Civil Rights Corps, a non-profit in Washington, DC, that fights injustice and inequality in the criminal system. He founded an initiative examining systemic problems with indigent defense systems and is lead counsel on the initiative's first case, Willey v. Ewing, 18-CV-81 (S.D. Tex.), which challenges judicial interference with public-defender independence. He also serves as lead counsel in a class-action challenge to wealth-based pre-trial detention in Lafayette Parish, LA, Little v. Frederick, 17-CV-724 (W.D. La.), and served as lead counsel in a successful federal habeas challenge to wealth-based pre-trial detention in Memphis, TN, Weatherspoon v. Oldham, No. 17-CV-2535-SHM-CGC, 2018 WL 1053548, at *1 (W.D. Tenn. Feb. 26, 2018), and in a successfully resolved challenge to probable-cause practices in Harris County, TX, Lomas v. Harris Cnty., Tex., 16-CV-3745 (S.D. Tex.). From 2016 to 2018, Professor Gerstein was a Skadden Fellow.

Professor Gerstein graduated summa cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School in 2014. After law school, Professor Gerstein clerked for the Honorable J. Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York and the Honorable Pierre N. Leval of the Second Circuit. Before law school, Professor Gerstein was a public-defense investigator. Before that, he was a chef. And before that, he worked in landscaping and played guitar in a band.

He is the author of The Prisoner's Lawyer's Dilemma, Criminal Justice Magazine, Spring 2017, at 33; Plea Bargaining and Prosecutorial Motives, 15 U.N.H. L. Rev. 1 (2016); Process Costs and Police Discretion, 128 Harv. L. Rev. F. 268 (2015) (with J.J. Prescott); Note, Plea Bargaining and the Right to Counsel at Bail Hearings, 111 Mich. L. Rev. 1513 (2013); Accomplices, in The Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice (Dr. Jay S. Albanese ed., 2013); and Essay, What Can the Brothers Malone Teach us About Fisher v. University of Texas?, 111 Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions 1 (2012). He is the co-host of the weekly podcast Versus Trump (archived recordings) and is a regular contributor to the Take Care blog (archived posts). The views Professor Gerstein expresses in his writing and podcast are entirely his own.

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