Criminal Law + Advocacy
One of six concentrations offered by the School of Law, Criminal Law & Advocacy will help you become firmly grounded in the theory of criminal law and criminal procedure.
You'll acquire not only a working familiarity with substantive criminal law-from basic crimes to more complex, federal, white-collar crimes-but also an understanding of criminal procedure, including the constitutional limitations on the practices of the police, prosecutors and courts.
You'll develop cutting-edge trial practice skills, such as the innovative use of visual persuasion techniques in the courtroom. You'll learn the significant role negotiation plays in settling the majority of criminal cases. You'll explore ethical issues unique to criminal practice settings. And you'll develop and refine your ability to engage in both prosecution and defense work at the trial and appellate levels.
Courtroom simulations and competitions, such as the Northeast Regional Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition we host each year, focus on criminal topics and litigation.
You'll also benefit from a very active Criminal Law Society that sponsors events on topics of interest in this field and provides networking and other career-enrichment opportunities.
Requirements + Courses
Students who earn the certificate for this concentration encounter a variety of experiences to help them develop an understanding of criminal law and procedure in both a theoretical and practical context. They will explore both the substantive criminal law as well as the constitutional overlay of criminal procedure. Additionally, they will experience practical aspects of criminal trial and motion work. Skill development focuses on litigation, as well as negotiation and other alternate dispute resolution methods that apply in a criminal context.
In order to be eligible for the Criminal Law and Procedure, Advocacy and Dispute Resolution Concentration, you must take Evidence as one of your core electives. Credits for this course do not count toward the 21-credit concentration requirement, but the grade in this prerequisite does count toward the GPA requirement for honors.
To receive the certificate for this concentration, you must earn 21 Criminal Law and Advocacy Specialty Credits, divided as follows:
Required Course Work
In addition to Evidence (credits for which do not count toward the 21-credit requirement), you must take the following courses. Credits for these courses will count toward your 21-credit concentration requirement.
- Criminal Procedure - The Investigative Process (2-4 credits)
- Criminal Procedure - The Adjudicative Process (2-4 credits)
- Trial Practice (2-3 credits)
- One of the following:
- Introduction to Representing Clients (2 credits)
- Introduction to Interviewing and Preparing Witnesses (1-2 credits)
- One of the following:
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (2-3 credits)
- Negotiation (2-3 credits)
The balance of the credits, if any, are to be earned from the following criminal law and advocacy-related courses, or from other required courses listed above. (Note: not all of these courses are offered every year.)
Constitutional Law (Advanced): The Original Understanding of the Bill of Rights (4 credits)
Ethics and the Criminal Justice System (2-3 credits)
Federal Criminal Law (2-3 credits)
Juvenile Law (2-3 credits)
Law and Forensic Science (2 credits)
Moot Court (if the director finds there is a substantial criminal law and/or criminal procedure component) (1-3 credits)
State Constitutional Law (2-3 credits)
Theories of Punishment (2 credits)
Trial Practice (Advanced) (2 credits)
Visual Persuasion and the Law (3 credits)
The concentration director may deem participation in a non-credit intermural mock trial or moot court competition with a substantial criminal law or criminal procedure component to satisfy the requirement of one or two credits of course work in this category.
At least 3 credits must be earned through participation in a clinic and/or externship placement approved by the concentration director.No more than 6 credits count toward the 21-credit requirement for the concentration, except with permission of the concentration director in consultation with the director of the relevant clinic or externship. Credits for IRC do not count.
The Defense Appellate Clinic (6 credits)
The Prosecution Appellate Clinic (6 credits)
An externship placement at a site dedicated to criminal defense or prosecution (3-6 credits), or
A judicial externship placement in a court at which the director can certify has a significant criminal docket (3-6 credits)
A substantial paper -- or a series of shorter writings that together comprise a substantial amount of written work -- on a topic or topics related to criminal law or procedure must be written. (If a student writes a substantial paper, they may use that paper to satisfy the law school's advanced writing requirement, provided that they meet the guidelines for the advanced writing requirement as set forth in the academic catalog.) The topic or topics for the written work used to satisfy this requirement must be approved by the concentration director. A paper written for a journal may qualify, if the topic is approved by the concentration director.
Students who achieve a GPA of 3.2 or better in the coursework used for the concentration will receive the certificate for the concentration with honors.
A student may designate any course or paper as not counting towards the concentration, so long as it is not required for the concentration, and the studentmeets the concentration requirements with another course or paper.
The concentration director and the associate dean for academic affairs may waive any requirements for the concentration (other than the GPA requirement), if they both agree to do so.