The criminal law program at BU Law encompasses not only foundational criminal procedure and evidence courses but also a wide range of clinical offerings in which students handle actual cases in court. BU Law’s Criminal Law Clinical Program is unique in that, in the first semester, students are required to defend clients facing criminal prosecution and—through one of the country’s few Prosecutor Clinics—to prosecute cases under the supervision of local district attorneys. Representing the government gives students an up-close-and-personal look at the discretionary power wielded by district attorneys, including some of the most progressive elected prosecutors in the country. Students can also participate in the Wrongful Convictions Practicum, in which they represent people who are incarcerated in post-conviction litigation.
In the classroom, criminal law courses and seminars cover everything from white-collar crime—including whistleblower law and financial institution self-regulation—to military law; international criminal law; and gender, violence, and the law. In The Criminal System: Theory and Practice, students put what they are learning into context, examining the history of the US criminal system, how it compares to other countries’ criminal systems, and potential reforms.
LLM students can choose from among the JD offerings and also, through the LLM in American Law program, are introduced to these topics through LLM-only courses such as Criminal Law for LLMs and Fundamentals of US Constitutional Law for LLM Students, among others.