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Criminal Practice Certificate

The Certificate in Criminal Practice is available for students who wish to focus their legal coursework on understanding and addressing key issues confronting the American criminal justice system, as well as policy analysis and the contemporary decision-making models. This certificate is designed to expose students to litigation procedures within the criminal courts, and within corrections, security, and associated support agencies.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate a foundational understanding of the American criminal justice system, particularly as it relates to substantive criminal law and criminal procedure. 
  • Students will gain first-hand, operational knowledge of the criminal justice system by successfully completing an externship or clinic relating to criminal practice.
  • Students will demonstrate a foundational understanding of and competent skills relating to trial practice, especially trial advocacy and the law of evidence;
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the principal policy debates regarding the criminal justice system, statutory and case analysis and legal reasoning in the criminal context, an overall awareness of how criminal practitioners think, and the principal ethical issues that those practitioners face.
  • Students will demonstrate effective communication skills on sophisticated criminal law and procedure topics, both orally and in writing.

Requirements - Section 1.

An applicant for an NIU-COL Certificate in Criminal Practice must earn a minimum of eighteen academic credits in the courses described by sections 1.a, 1.b, and 1.c below, and must comply with all of the specified requirements of sections 1.a, 1.b, 1.c, and 1.d below.

a. Required Basic Courses. An applicant must complete all of the following basic courses:

i. Criminal Procedure: Police Investigation.

ii. Criminal Procedure: Adjudication.

iii. Evidence.

iv. Trial Advocacy.

b. Required Capstone Courses. An applicant must complete at least one of the following capstone courses:

i. Criminal Defense Clinic.

ii. Juvenile Justice Clinic.

iii. Criminal Law Externship.

iv. Juvenile Court Externship.

v. Appellate Defender Program.

vi. Illinois Innocence Project Externship.

vii. Judicial Externship, if primarily focused on criminal practice and approved in advance for certificate eligibility by the supervising faculty member.

viii. Another externship or clinic primarily focused on criminal practice, as approved in advance for certificate eligibility by the supervising faculty member.

c. Elective Courses. An applicant must complete at least one of the following elective courses:

i. Advanced Trial Advocacy.

ii. Criminal Practice Skills.

iii. White Collar Crime.

iv. Legislation.

v. Post-Conviction Remedies Seminar.

vi. Any of the courses listed in Section 1.b., if not counted toward the Required Capstone Course requirement of that section.

vii. Another course focused primarily on criminal law or procedure, as approved by the Associate Dean.

d. Required Additional Skills Development Activities. An applicant must complete at least one of the following co-curricular or extra-curricular activities:

i. Lenny Mandell Prize Moot Court Competition.

ii. 2L Trial Advocacy Competition.

iii. ABA Client Counseling Competition.

iv. ABA Negotiation Competition.

v. ABA Advocacy in Mediation Competition.

vi. Appellate Lawyers Association Moot Court Competition.

vii. Black Law Students Association Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition.

viii. Chicago Bar Association Moot Court Competition.

ix. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

x. John Marshall Law School International Moot Court Competition in Information Technology and Privacy Law.

xi. National Latino Law Students Moot Court Competition.

xii. National Moot Court Competition.

xiii. National Trial Competition.

xiv. American Association of Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition.

xv. Another equivalent internal or external student competition facilitating development of practice skills that is approved in advance for certificate eligibility by the supervising faculty member.

xvi. A criminal-law related pro bono service approved for certificate eligibility by the supervising faculty member.

For purposes of this section 1.d, “completion” of an activity means:

(1) participation in the preliminary rounds of an internal or external student competition and, in the case of external competitions, participation in faculty-supervised practice sessions; or

(2) qualification for College of Law Approved Pro Bono Service Recognition.

Section 2.

An applicant for an NIU-COL Certificate in Criminal Practice must also meet the GPA and other requirements set forth in the College of Law Guidelines for Certificate Programs.

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