Lawyers who work in criminal law play an important role in society. Criminal defense attorneys have clients who have their property, liberty, and sometimes even their lives at stake. Prosecutors are responsible for protecting the community from dangerous criminals and seeking justice for what are often heinous crimes. All of these lawyers tend to spend a great deal of time in the courtroom. The issues at stake for both sides make criminal law one of the most exciting, rewarding, and demanding areas of practice.
In addition to the first-year criminal law and constitutional law classes, students considering criminal practice often take Criminal Procedure I, Criminal Procedure II, Evidence, and White Collar Crime. Trial Practice and other classes that teach litigation skills are also important basic courses. Other electives for the second and third years include Computer Crime Law, Counterterrorism Law, Crimmigration (about the intersection of criminal and immigration law), Death Penalty seminar, and Federal Courts.
Skills: Students can build skills in the classroom by taking the classes Trial Practice: Competition Team and Criminal Investigation and Discovery. They can also serve real clients by participating in the Ohio Innocence Project, the Indigent Defense Clinic, the Sixth Circuit Clinic, and legal externships. Judicial externships also allow students to gain direct insight into the criminal justice system.