FACULTY MEMORANDUM ON CRIMINAL LAW
Updated September 2011
Faculty: Camille Andrews, Hon. Dennis Braithwaite, Roger Clark, Russell Coombs, Kimberly Ferzan, Sandra Gavin, J. C. Lore, Sandra Simkins, Alec Walen
Adjunct Faculty: Leonard Baker, Rocco Cipparone, Hon. Noel Hillman
The practice of criminal law is relatively specialized. Traditionally, most attorneys engaged in general practice do not represent defendants in criminal cases, other than perhaps minor matters, and instead refer such clients to criminal law specialists.
Criminal law specialists typically concentrate solely on criminal defense or prosecution, or combine criminal defense with one or two other specialities, such as divorce litigation or plaintiffs' tort actions. There are also state-funded organizations of full-time defenders, and criminal prosecutors in many (but not all) jurisdictions are full-time employees of a city, county, or state.
Since criminal practice is so specialized, a law student who thinks he or she wants to make a career as a criminal lawyer would be wise to take most available courses in the field. These include offerings in criminal law, procedure, and practice, and also offerings on evidence and lawyering skills courses. As explained below, civil litigation skills are also relevant, as civil law practice is often the road into a criminal practice career.
Almost all U.S. Attorneys' offices, which are among the best places for a lifetime specialization in criminal practice, will not consider employing an attorney until he or she has engaged in practice elsewhere for a few years, and probably the most common precursor for employment as an Assistant U.S. Attorney is civil litigation in a good firm. Thus, a law student who may want to practice criminal law, but who also wants to keep other options open, may decide to take courses and seminars focusing on both criminal and civil practice.
Criminal Procedure: The Adjudicative Process
Criminal Procedure: The Investigative Process
Hunter Moot Court
Trial Advocacy (inquire about criminal law sections)
Advanced Trial Advocacy
Civil Practice Clinic
Advanced Civil Practice Clinic
Gibbons Criminal Procedure Moot Court Team (if available)
Additional offerings related to criminal law include the following:
Comparative Criminal Law and Procedure
Federal Criminal Law
International Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
Seminar on Control of Organized Crime
Seminar on Legal Issues of Police Undercover Operations
Seminar on Problems in Criminal Law
Seminar on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) Cases
Seminar on Sentencing
Finally, students are encouraged to obtain externships, internships or clerkships in criminal prosecution or defense offices or with judges hearing criminal cases.