Criminal Law and Procedure

Whether you are interested in working as a prosecutor or a criminal defense attorney, resolving disputes, or safeguarding civil liberties, USF provides the practical and theoretical training all criminal attorneys need to succeed.

Students inside court Our dynamic Criminal and Juvenile Justice Law Clinic provides hands-on experiences to students who take a leadership role in cases and learn the problem solving, strategizing, and advocacy skills they will need in their careers.

As part of our extensive Civil and Criminal Law Externship Program, students receive academic credit while putting their education to practice with district attorneys, public defenders, or one of the other 300 pre-approved employers throughout the region.

Our criminal law courses build on the essentials, addressing the constitutional and statutory framework for criminal prosecution. Our Intensive Advocacy Program, a two-week intensive course focusing on litigation and trial techniques and strategies, brings seasoned lawyers and judges from across the nation to train law students in the art of advocacy.

The most interesting part of my externship was working intimately and daily with clients and their families, allowing me to see first hand the ways in which the criminal legal system disproportionately affects low-income communities of color. With my mentor’s guidance, I made court appearances nearly every week and was able to advocate for clients as well as meet and speak with attorneys and judges regularly.

Cecilia Fierro ’15, externed at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and was hired by the Contra Costa Public Defender Office immediately after graduation

Select Courses

  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Criminal Procedure Adjunction
  • Evidence
  • Grand Jury Law and Practice
  • International Criminal Law
  • Juvenile Law
  • White Collar Crime
  • Wrongful Convictions

Faculty

  • Lara Bazelon is an expert on juvenile law and director of the criminal juvenile justice clinic and the racial justice clinic
  • Richard Leo is an acclaimed legal scholar on false confessions and wrongful convictions and criminal procedure
  • Robert Talbot is an expert on clinical education and director of five law clinics and projects

Clinics

  • Criminal and Juvenile Justice Clinic
  • Racial Justice Clinic

Special Program

  • Keta Taylor Colby Death Penalty Project

Representative Externships

  • Alameda County District Attorney's Office
  • Alameda County Public Defender's Office
  • District Attorney's Office of Sonoma County
  • Law Offices of B.C. McComas
  • Law Offices of Douglas Horngrad
  • San Francisco District Attorney's Office
  • San Francisco Public Defender's Office
  • San Francisco Superior Court, Criminal Division
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office

Student Organization

  • Criminal Law Society

The most interesting part of my externship was working intimately and daily with clients and their families, allowing me to see first hand the ways in which the criminal legal system disproportionately affects low-income communities of color. With my mentor’s guidance, I made court appearances nearly every week and was able to advocate for clients as well as meet and speak with attorneys and judges regularly.

Cecilia Fierro ’15, externed at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and was hired by the Contra Costa Public Defender Office immediately after graduation