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Area of Concentration


The Criminal Prosecution and Defense Practice Area of Concentration offers advanced training in trial advocacy skills, theory and most importantly the "hands-on" practical experience that is necessary to be practice ready and hit the ground running as an effective advocate in the criminal justice arena.

Graduates who receive this specialized concentration Award will have a competitive advantage in applying for positions with law firms that desire candidates with demonstrated excellence in litigation skills. This includes not only public defender and public prosecutor offices, but also civil law firms and governmental agencies seeking talented litigators.

Courses like Advanced Criminal Litigation include crime scene investigation, pre-trial motion practice, mock trials before live juries, and performance critiques by experienced practitioners and judges.

This area of concentration offers you the opportunity to participate in:

  • Sessions of the National Trial Skills Academy, sponsored annually by California Western's Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy.
  • Special programs like the California Innocence Project.

Through these programs you will come in contact with some of the top criminal justice professionals in the country and gain in-court experience in representing actual clients.


Grounded in the philosophy that a broad diversity of experience is essential for excellence in advocacy, you will have a great degree of flexibility in choosing courses tailored to your specific interests from three categories of courses.

The Concentration is anchored around Core Practicum courses such as:

  • Advanced Criminal Litigation
  • Advanced Prosecution Function
  • California Sentencing
  • Evidence Advocacy
  • Forensic Evidence
  • The California Innocence Project
  • Trial Practice
  • Trial Skills Training for Distinguished Advocates

There are also opportunities to explore specialized substantive areas including:

  • White Collar Crime
  • Human Rights Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Domestic Violence
  • Mental Health Law

Additional core course offerings you may select from include:

  • Constitutional Law II
  • Criminal Law Theory
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Federal Crimes
  • Regulation of Vice
  • Problem Solving & Preventive Law
  • Wrongful Conviction Seminar

A third category of courses called Closely Related electives include

  • Accounting for Lawyers
  • Administrative Law
  • Advanced Legal Research
  • Current Issues in Constitutional Law
  • Domestic Violence
  • Federal Income Tax
  • Jurisprudence
  • Spanish for Lawyers


Further information may also be obtained from the Admissions Office and the Application Form


Professor Justin Brooks ( is managing director of the Criminal Justice Program.