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Penn State
Lewis Katz Building, University Park, PA
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Gopal Balachandran

Gopal Balachandran

Assistant Professor of Clinical Law
Director, Externships Program
Co-Director, Indigent Criminal Justice Practicum

Phone: 
(814) 867-5946
Education: 

J.D., The George Washington University Law School, with honors
M.A., University of Chicago
B.S., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Professor Balachandran directs the Externships Program as well as the Criminal Appellate-Postconviction Track of the Indigent Criminal Justice Practicum. In his role as the Director of the Externships Program, he oversees students’ employment with legal services and governmental organizations, including externships with judges. Students in the program have worked in diverse placements from clerking for a federal magistrate judge in San Diego to working as an associate at a large law firm in Paris.

In his role in the Indigent Criminal Justice Practicum, Professor Balachandran has supervised students in the writing and filing of briefs in the Pennsylvania Superior and Supreme Courts. Students have worked on homicide and sexual assault appeals as well as filed amicus briefs on important criminal procedure issues in the cases of Commonwealth v. Dylan Turpin and Commonwealth v. Dennis Katona. The Criminal Appellate-Postconviction Track of the practicum has partnered with various criminal defense organizations including the Centre County Office of the Public Defender and the Public Defender Association of Pennsylvania.

Professor Balachandran also maintains an active presence in international legal education by teaching legal writing to LLM students. He has presented working papers on teaching English language learners how to better read cases at the Global Legal Skills Conference and has taught legal writing at Nirma University in India.

Prior to his employment at the law school, Professor Balachandran worked as a public defender in Massachusetts, New York and Maryland, where his caseload ranged from possession of drugs to first-degree murder. While in Massachusetts, he cross-examined the drug analyst who later became infamous for fabricating test results and was the subject of a Netflix documentary. Professor Balachandran secured numerous not guilty verdicts in serious felony cases and litigated cutting edge criminal procedure issues that led to reversals in appellate courts.

"Naraka" (novel), 2012 Finalist for the Gival Press Novel Award.

“The Bookseller” (short fiction), Newport Review, 2007.

 “Thousandth Life” (short fiction), Cezanne’s Carrot, 2007.

“Lending to the Emerging Debtor in the Face of an Appeal”, The Commercial Lending Review, Jan. 2006, Vol. 21, Issue 1, p. 35.