The Honors Program in Criminal Justice is a cutting edge program designed to prepare its graduates to excel in the practice of criminal law. Students are given a powerful foundation of knowledge in the field through the program’s three-year core curriculum. A problem-based teaching method is used to ensure that the students appreciate both how all the core courses fit together within criminal law and how they apply to its practice. This integrated and applied approach to teaching ensures our students receive a well-rounded and practical educational experience.
With an increasing demand from the criminal justice system for capable practitioners, and shrinking state budgets, new prosecutors and defenders are more likely than ever to be thrown into the criminal law arena with very little training beyond law school and even greater responsibility. Traditional legal education, however, does not prepare the young criminal lawyer to function effectively. Therefore, it is critical that a law school meet the need to ensure that criminal law practitioners are better equipped to live up to their professional and constitutional obligations as practitioners. The Honors Program in Criminal Justice at John Marshall meets this need.
Students begin the Honors Program during their first year of law school. The year-long Legal Research Writing and Analysis course will be coordinated with Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure to help students appreciate the interplay between doctrine and application. This experience will be complemented with Introduction to Criminal Law in which students will engage with a variety of issues relevant to the practice of criminal law, and discuss the role prosecutors and defenders play in addressing these issues. During their second year, students will build on this foundation with courses in advanced criminal procedure, evidence, and advanced evidence. During the spring semester of their second year, students will take Integrated Advocacy, a practical course that uses a simulated problem to tie all of the required courses together in the context of teaching pre-trial litigation and trial advocacy. This will prepare students for an intensive, third-year externship experience through which they will apply these lessons in a criminal law placement. The curriculum teaches skills that help students apply these lessons in the practice of criminal law, as well as strategies to help them address challenges they will confront as practicing attorneys.
The mission of JMLS “is to prepare highly competent and professional lawyers who possess a strong social conscience, continually demonstrate high ethical standards, and are committed to the improvement of the legal system and society.” The Honors Program in Criminal Justice further demonstrates our commitment to this mission.
Director of Honors Program in Criminal Justice and
Associate Professor of Law