Key principles of criminal law have been engrained in American society since the framers of the U.S. Constitution guaranteed us certain liberties, including freedom of speech, the right against self-incrimination and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, just to name a few. This concentration gives you a firm grounding in the theory and procedure of criminal law and explores a range of criminal activity, including white-collar financial crimes, human trafficking and cybercrime.
You’ll develop cutting-edge trial skills, such as the innovative use of visual persuasion techniques in the courtroom, and you’ll examine ethical issues unique to criminal practice settings. You’ll experience the criminal justice system in action in our clinics and externships, which will refine your ability to engage in both prosecution and defense work. You can advocate for real clients at the trial or appellate levels, represent the government, or help judges in criminal cases. You also can work on national criminal justice reform projects, such as advocating for more humane treatment of children charged with crimes, or challenging the death penalty.
Your negotiation and litigation skills will be honed through participation in mock trials and courtroom simulations, and every year we host the Northeast Regional Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition. Our active Criminal Law Society sponsors several networking events and activities focused on helping you connect with legal professionals.
Curriculum and Requirements
Criminal Law and Advocacy Concentration
To be eligible for the Criminal Law and Advocacy Concentration, you must take Evidence (LAWS 311) 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 concentration GPA requirement in determining whether or not the certificate is awarded with honors. All students must also successfully complete the required course of Criminal Law (LAWS 113).
To receive the certificate for this concentration, you must earn 21 Criminal Law and Advocacy specialty credits, divided as follows (not all courses are offered every year):
You must earn at least 3 credits through participation in the following programs. No more than 6 clinical credits count toward the 21-credit requirement for the concentration, except with the permission of the concentration director. The credit allotted to coursework in conjunction with a clinic counts as a course credit, not as a clinic credit.
|Defense Appellate Clinic (LAWS 299 & LAWS 300)||6|
|An externship placement at a site dedicated to criminal defense or prosecution||3-6|
|A judicial externship placement in a court at which the director can certify has a significant criminal docket||3-6|
In addition to LAWS 311 (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.
|LAWS 315||Trial Practice||2-3|
|LAWS 431||Criminal Procedure - Adj.||3|
|LAWS 432||Criminal Procedure Inv.||3|
|Select one of the following courses:||2-3|
|Alternative Dispute Resolution|
The remaining credits needed to satisfy the requirements for this concentration should come from the following designated courses:
|LAWS 292||Independent Research Project W||2|
|LAWS 293||Independent Research Project W||3|
|LAWS 315||Trial Practice||2-3|
|LAWS 316||Advanced Trial Practice||2|
|LAWS 318||Mock Trial 2||1-2|
|LAWS 338||Visual Persuasion in the Law||3|
|LAWS 360||International Criminal Law||3|
|LAWS 367||Counterterrorism Law||2|
|LAWS 384||Juvenile Law||3|
|LAWS 386||Domestic Violence: Law, Practice and Pol||2|
|LAWS 387||Advanced Juvenile Law: Delinquency Proceedings||2|
|LAWS 410||Theories of Punishment S,W||2|
|LAWS 412||Habeas Corpus||2|
|LAWS 423||State Constitutional Law||2-3|
|LAWS 429||International Human Rights||2|
|LAWS 515||Alternative Dispute Resolution 1||2-3|
|LAWS 525||Moot Court I 3||1|
|LAWS 551||Federal Criminal Law||2|
|LAWS 599||Intro to Representing Clients||2|
|LAWS 602||Law and Forensic Science||2|
|LAWS 615||Conn. Adjudicative Criminal Procedure||2|
|LAWS 636||Sentencing, Prisons, and Reentry||2|
Alternate Dispute Resolution interscholastic competitions (but not intramural) may count if the concentration director finds there is a substantial criminal law and/or criminal procedure component. The participation must be connected to the legal questions in roles such as advocate, problem drafter, etc. The efforts of organizers, coaches, schedulers, while extremely important, are not eligible for credit. (1, 2, or 3 credits)
Mock trial interscholastic competitions (but not intramural) may count if the concentration director finds there is a substantial criminal law and/or criminal procedure component. The participation must be connected to the legal questions in roles such as litigator, problem drafter, etc. The efforts of organizers, coaches, and schedulers, while extremely important, are not eligible for credit. Participation in the legal aspects – i.e., litigator, problem drafter – of the Quinnipiac University School of Law Criminal Trial Advocacy Competition will count. (1, 2, or 3 credits)
Moot Court interscholastic competitions (but not intramural) may count if the concentration director finds there is a substantial criminal law and/or criminal procedure component. The participation must be connected to the legal questions in roles such as litigator, problem drafter, etc. The efforts of organizers, coaches, schedulers, while extremely important, are not eligible for credit. (1, 2, or 3 credits)
2. Writing Requirement
You must write a substantial paper (or a series of shorter writings that, taken together, comprise a substantial amount of written work) on a topic or topics related to Criminal Law or Procedure. (If you write a substantial paper, you may use that paper to satisfy the law school's Advanced Writing Requirement, as set forth in the Academic Regulations, section I.D., as well as the Criminal Law and Advocacy certification program.) A paper written for a journal may qualify if the concentration director approves the topic. A brief written for a moot court competition or within an externship position may qualify if the student can attest that the work was his or her own. The concentration director must approve the topic and the format for the written work used to satisfy this requirement. Note: It is possible for completed work to count for more than one concentration if there is sufficient coverage of both subject matters.
Students who achieve a GPA of 3.2 or better in the coursework used for the concentration will receive certificate for the concentration with honors.
If you have excess credits, you may designate any course or paper as not counting toward the concentration, so long as it is not required for the concentration, and you meet the concentration requirements with another course. If you have more than 21 credits, the concentration director will count the courses with the highest grades in determining whether or not to bestow the honors designation. Note that the GPA calculation includes all courses required for the concentration, including LAWS 311 — Evidence.
The concentration director and the associate dean for academic affairs may waive any requirement for the concentration (other than the GPA requirement), if both agree to do so. Any waiver requests must be submitted in writing with the application for the concentration.