Criminal Law

Criminal Law

Gain Invaluable Experience in One of the Nation's Most Comprehensive Litigation Skills Programs 

Miami Law provides extensive training for both state and federal practice as an aspiring prosecutor, criminal defense lawyer, or advocate for criminal justice reform and policy. Miami is home to a nationally recognized Public Defender’s officeState Attorney’s Office, and government agencies specializing in all areas of criminal law. Miami Law students have direct opportunities with these agencies through our externship programs. You can become practice-ready through our numerous experiential learning opportunities, and Miami Law’s highly acclaimed Litigation Skills Program engages you in rigorous, hands-on training providing you with practical skills and courtroom experience. 

pre-law criminal law badgeSome Facts about Miami and Miami Law:

  • 'A' ranking for Criminal Law in Pre-Law Magazine (fall 2019 and fall 2020)
  • 65+ highly experienced trial attorneys and judges teach our students in our Litigation Skills Program
  • Miami Law’s Moot Court Board was ranked 21st in the nation for the 2020-2021 academic year
  • Lawyers in South Florida practice in numerous courts, including the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, state and federal, trial and appellate, bankruptcy, immigration, family and more

Mike Klinkosum, JD '95I find helping people who are in trouble to be incredibly rewarding. If you see what wrong has been done to people in the past, you make an even greater concerted effort to look under every stone in a case. This career requires you to be versatile and learn other disciplines outside of criminal law. For example, you must continually learn about new advances in science and technology, such as the process of digital storing and downloading of evidence. You have to continually work to stay current.”  
Mike Klinkosum, J.D. '95  
Certified Specialist in Criminal Law and Criminal Trial Advocacy, Tin Fulton Walker & Owen 
Raleigh, NC 


    Comparative Criminal Justice 
    Comparative Criminal Justice After COVID-19 
    Controlled Substances 
    Craft Alcohol Beverages and Cannabis 
    Crimes at Sea 
    Criminal Evidence 
    Criminal Justice Policy Reform 
    Criminal Litigation 
    Criminal Procedure 
    Criminal Procedure: Adjudication 
    Criminal Prosecution 
    Criminal Prosecution and Defense Lawyering 
    Evidence False Confessions and Interrogations 
    Federal Criminal Motion Practice 
    Federal Criminal Tax Practice 
    Florida Criminal Procedure 
    Florida Post-conviction Procedure 
    Gender Violence, Social Justice, and the Law 
    Habeas Corpus 
    Human Trafficking 
    Images of Evil in Criminal Law 
    Impeachment Politics in Constitutional Perspective 
    International Criminal Law 
    Introduction to Death Penalty Litigation 

    Law and the Media 
    Law of International Treaties 
    Mental Health Law 
    Philosophies of Sentencing 
    Piracy, Terrorism, and Drug Smuggling in the Maritime Domain 
    Policing the Police 
    Post-Conviction Relief 
    Problems in Criminal Law and Procedure 
    Race and Economic Justice 
    Race and the Law 
    Race, Class, and Power: the #BlackLivesMatter Movement 
    Scientific Evidence 
    Second Amendment Fundamentalism 
    Substantive Criminal Law 
    The Criminalization of Homelessness 
    The Death Penalty in Decline 
    The Language of Habeas Corpus 
    The Wire 
    Torture and the Law 
    Trial Litigation 
    White Collar Criminal Law 
    Wrongful Convictions 

    Academic Programs and Concentrations

    Concentration in Immigration, Asylum and Citizenship Law
    Concentration in Litigation and Dispute Resolution 
    Concentration in Social Justice & Public Interest 

    Clinics and Practicums 

    Innocence Clinic
    Investor Rights Clinic
    Civil Rights Practicum
    Criminal Justice Policy Reform Practicum 
    Cyber Civil Rights Initiative Practicum
    Death Penalty Practicum 
    Federal Criminal Motion Practice Practicum
    Social Impact Advocacy Practicum

    Joint Degrees

    J.D./M.S.Ed. - Law, Community and Social Change 

    International Opportunities

    Ghent University, Ghent Belgium – one semester exchange opportunity to take courses in European criminology/criminal justice and law in Europe
    International Criminal Court (ICC) Moot Trial Competition - competition within the Miami Law International Moot Court Program

    Alex Calle"I have been able to grasp complex issues because of the criminal law and criminal procedure courses that I have taken. The skills that I learned in the Litigation Skills program allowed me to be able to follow many fast paced pre-trial and trial proceedings. You're not sitting behind a desk doing transactional work; you're negotiating, you're in trial, everything is fast paced and I like that.
    Alex Calle, J.D. '14 
    Attorney at Florida Department of Children and Families, Children's Legal Services 
    Miami, FL 


    Extracurricular Opportunities 

    American Constitution Society
    Charles C. Papy Moot Court Board
    Criminal Law Society
    Honor Council
    Human Rights Society
    Trial Team
    Legal Writing at Dade Correctional Institution
    Sealing and Expungement Project 

    Inter-American Law Review
    International & Comparative Law Review
    Race and Social Justice Law Review
    University of Miami Law Review


    Nick Bancroft“I would not have the career as a public defender that I have today at the Legal Aid Society of NY without the support of HOPE. Miami Law provided me with the experiences I needed to do my job well."
    Nick Bancroft, J.D. '15
    Staff Attorney, The Legal Aid Society of NYC
    New York, NY
    (Note: After working as a Summer Public Interest Fellow during his 1L summer at the Miami-Dade Public Defender, Bancroft decided that a career in public defense was what he aspired to after law school. He spent the remainder of his time at Miami Law making this happen through his participation in the Innocence Clinic and the Litigation Skills Program, and by serving as a HOPE Fellow with the Colorado Public Defender, where he was hired upon graduation.)


    Externships and Internships**

    11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, Domestic Violence Division
    Arc National Center for Criminal Justice and Disability (Washington, DC)
    Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (Phoenix, AZ)
    Bronx Criminal Division, Legal Aid Society (New York, NY) 
    Broward Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel 
    Broward Public Defender’s Office 
    Center for Children’s Law and Policy (DC) 
    District Attorney’s Office (TX, MA, NY, GA) 
    Florida Justice Institute 
    Guardian Ad Litem in Tanzania (Arusha, Tanzania)
    Internal Revenue Service (DC) 
    Legal Services of Greater Miami 
    Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office (CA) 
    Manatee County Attorney’s Office 
    Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office 
    Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office 
    National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (DC) 
    New York Legal Aid Society, Criminal Division 
    Office of Police Complaints (DC) 
    Office of the Attorney General (FL & VA) 
    Office of the Attorney General, Economic Crimes Division  
    Office of the Attorney General, Office of Statewide Prosecution 
    Office of the Federal Public Defender of the Southern District of Florida 
    Office of the Public Defender (CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, IL, MD, OH, RI) 
    Office of the State Attorney (CT, FL, IL, KS, MA, NM) 
    United Nations (NY) 
    United Nations (Santo Domingo,Dominican Republic) 
    United Nations International Criminal Tribunal (Kigali, Rwanda) 
    U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York 
    U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Florida 
    U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DC & FL) 
    U.S. Department of Justice (DC, FL, NC) 
    U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps (DC, HI, VA) 
    U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps (Germany & Italy) 
    U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (DC & FL) 
    U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (DC) 

    Faculty Experts

    (Listen: In this recorded session for prospective law students, Professor Mary Anne Franks discusses the basics of criminal law.)

    The faculty teaching in the criminal law area has published articles and books on a diverse array of topics. One professor has devoted twenty years to the Capital Jury Project and the Project's effort to decipher the inner workings of juries. Another professor is engaging in empirical research that digs down past myths and assumptions surrounding sex offenders as a way to understand the realities of sex offenders.

    Some of our faculty members have been prosecutors, others have been criminal defense attorneys, and others have worked for both the government and the defense. Full-Time Faculty With Criminal Law Expertise:

    Ricardo J. Bascuas is an expert in evidence, criminal procedure, international criminal law

    Donna K. Coker is an expert in criminal law, gender and inequality

    Elizabeth M. Iglesias is an expert in International criminal law

    Mary Anne Franks is an expert in criminal law, criminal procedure, discrimination, free speech, cyberlaw, law and gender

    Donald M. Jones is an expert in criminal procedure, constitutional law, employment discrimination

    Tamara Rice Lave is an expert in criminal law, criminal procedure, ethics, punishment, sex offender legislation

    Martha R. Mahoney is an expert in criminal law, race and urban development, public interest law, property and land use

    Irwin P. Stotzky: is an expert in criminal procedure

    Scott E. Sundby is an expert in criminal law, criminal procedure, constitutional law

    Craig Trocino is a Practitioner in Residence and Director of Miami Law's Innocence Clinic and an expert in wrongful convictions

    Conferences, Lectures, Centers

    Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI)  - founded in August 2012 as the End Revenge Porn campaign, which called for the criminalization of nonconsensual pornography, the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent. CCRI has its home at Miami Law and the Initiative offers opportunities for law students and other university students eager to apply their professional skills to a cutting-edge issue with real-world implications.    

    HOPE Public Interest Resource Center - supports students looking to work in the area of criminal law defense and advocacy.

    Class Action and Complex Litigation Forum - judges, lawyers, and scholars from around the country discuss current cutting edge issues and topics associated with multi-district class actions and mass tort litigation.

    *Course list is not exhaustive and does not set out a path of study. 
    **List is not exhaustive and is intended to provide examples of past externships and internships.
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