“[W]e set our sights on the embarrassing target of mediocrity. I guess that means about halfway. And that raises a question: Are we willing to put up with halfway justice? To my way of thinking, one-half justice must mean one-half injustice, and one-half injustice is no justice at all.” – Former Georgia Chief Justice Harold G. Clarke
Recognizing an increased student interest in the field of criminal law, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School launched the Criminal Justice Certificate Program (CJCP) in 2018. From 2011-2018, the Law School offered the program as the Criminal Justice Honors Program.
The Law School has noticed the desire to enter the program has expanded from prospective students only to current students as well. In an effort to broaden the Program’s reach, the Law School has made some structural changes in hopes of allowing all students the opportunity to pursue this career track. Originally designed with specialized coursework beginning in the first year, the Program required students to apply before entering law school without the possibility of later transitioning into the Program. Therefore, many Atlanta’s John Marshall students were ineligible because they did not come to the decision to join the Program until after beginning their law school careers.
To complete the program, students must complete 300 hours of approved field work and take a CJCP workshop that is not for credit during their third year. This modification will allow students who are inspired in their first year to pursue careers in criminal justice to benefit from this unique program. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is excited about this step in the evolution of this cutting-edge program.
The Criminal Justice Certificate Program curriculum prepares graduates to practice criminal law, whether as a prosecutor or a defender. Core components of the program approach include:
- Integration – Students appreciate how all of the courses in the criminal law curriculum relate to one another and to the larger practice of law;
- Application – Students not only understand these lessons in theory, but learn how to apply these lessons to situations they will encounter in their practice;
- Reality Based – Students not only learn the ideals that underscore any criminal law curriculum, but also understand how the criminal justice system works in reality.
Students graduate equipped with strategies to allow them to shape the criminal justice arena rather than simply being shaped by it. The Criminal Justice Certificate Program provides an integrated, applied approach to legal education that equips our students with the necessary strategies to be ethical, professional, and moral lawyers in less than perfect systems. Full-time and Accelerated Spring start program participants must complete all first year requirements before applying. Part-time program participants must complete all requirements in the first and second year before applying.
To earn the Criminal Justice Certificate, students must maintain a 2.3 GPA in the following courses, which will be required in addition to the other requirements necessary to complete the J.D. Program.
- Criminal Law
- Criminal Procedure (4 credits)
- Advanced Criminal Procedure
- Advanced Evidence
- Criminal Justice Lawyering
- Criminal Law Ethics
- Criminal Pretrial Practice
- Criminal Trial Practice
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is particularly qualified to offer this intensive and practical criminal law certificate. It boasts a faculty of experts in the practice of criminal law, with a combined total of over 75 years of practical experience in the field. Our faculty members are well-connected to the criminal justice community both locally and nationally. Our low student-to-faculty ratio allows for our students to be mentored by their professors.
Students enrolled in the Criminal Justice Certificate Program will complete 300 hours of approved field work in their third year, where they will be afforded the opportunity to apply curriculum lessons in a criminal law placement. Our location in the heart of Atlanta provides access to a wide variety of criminal law related externship opportunities. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School has established and approved externship placements with many criminal courts, juvenile law and advocacy agencies, public defenders offices, prosecutors offices, and municipal and state agencies.
Connect with Professor Jonathan Rapping, firstname.lastname@example.org or (678) 916-2642.