Thursday, April 25, 2019

My First Year Elective Course

This semester I am taking Adjudicative Criminal Procedure. The class is taught by two professors; a former prosecutor and a public defender. I chose this class because I have an interest in learning about the criminal justice system, and both of the professors have years of experience in this area. The perspectives of both prosecution and defense are important and relevant as we learn to navigate through a system that is lacking in so many ways. The class focuses on the realities of the justice system and the way in which procedure affects the rights of defendants who go through it. I find this class to be one of the most realistic classes I’ve taken in law school because it integrates concepts such as Due Process and defendants’ rights with the reality of a system that is underfunded and overcrowded. The class also incorporates guest speakers such as practicing attorneys and judges, who bring a real-life perspective into the classroom.

The part I find the most exciting however, is the hands-on learning in the classroom. In this class, we have negotiated mock plea-deals, analyzed pre-trial motions, gone through a plea bargain process and argued for our imaginary clients. The value of this class is as much the learning of the process as the learning on how to be part of the process effectively. It refines skills such as thinking on your feet, and it gives a realistic image of what happens once you get to practice. While the class is challenging, it is a welcome change of pace from the general law school curriculum I had during my first semester.

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