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The best way to prepare for the courtroom is to be in it. And that practical experience is central to the Criminal Practice and Procedure certificate program at New England Law | Boston.
Law school certificate in Criminal Practice and Procedure
Learn more about our certificate in Criminal Practice and Procedure

Directed by former Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps officer Professor Victor Hansen, our Criminal Practice and Procedure certificate program includes doctrinal courses, skill-building classes and clinics that will place you in the courtroom alongside prosecutors, public defenders, private defense attorneys, and judges.

The certificate program emphasizes criminal law coursework, developing litigation skills, and other essential practice skills used in the criminal law field. Many of our criminal law students are also active members of the trial advocacy and moot court teams, where they learn how to effectively present arguments, prepare and question witnesses, apply the rules of court, think on their feet, and develop sophisticated legal arguments. 

What Do Attorneys Practicing Criminal Law Do?

Criminal law attorneys prosecute or defend individuals or organizations charged with committing a crime as defined by law. Often, criminal lawyers will work with their client to reach a plea agreement; if this is not an option, they go to trial. They may be involved in every step of a case, from gathering evidence to selecting jurors to preparing arguments that will be delivered in court.

Criminal law attorneys often work as state or federal prosecutors, public defenders, private defense attorneys, and judges. To prepare for such careers, law students should recognize the goals of learning the substantive criminal law and procedure, effective written and oral communication, and strong litigation skills.

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Students in our Criminal Practice and Procedure certificate program must meet an experiential learning requirement. Some of the hands-on learning experiences available to them include:

Criminal Practice and Procedure Courses

This certificate is awarded in conjunction with our JD degree. In addition to their foundational legal coursework, students pursuing a certificate in Criminal Practice and Procedure can choose among many exciting elective classes to meet their credit requirements. These may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Criminal Advocacy
  • Criminal Defense Ethics
  • Crimmigration
  • Juvenile Law
  • Mental Health Law
  • Privacy and Law Enforcement
  • Prosecutorial Ethics
  • Trial Practice
  • White Collar Crime
  • Wrongful Convictions

Note: Criminal Procedure II is also a foundational course that all students pursuing this certificate must take.

Criminal Practice and Procedure Faculty


Director: Victor M. Hansen

BA Brigham Young University
JD Lewis and Clark Law School
LLM The Judge Advocate General’s School

Before joining the New England Law faculty in 2005, Professor Victor Hansen, director of the Criminal Practice and Procedure certificate program, served a 20-year career in the U.S. Army, primarily as a JAG Corps officer. His previous assignments include work as a military prosecutor and supervising prosecutor. Learn more


Tigran W. Eldred

AB Georgetown University
JD Fordham University School of Law

Professor Eldred came to New England Law after teaching for several years and serving as a public defender, civil rights lawyer, and human rights advocate. His research explores the regulation and psychology of decision making of lawyers in various contexts, including criminal law and legal ethics. Learn more


David M. Siegel

BA University of Chicago
JD University of Chicago Law School

A founding member of the New England Innocence Project, Professor Siegel has written on the history of mental health defenses in criminal law and the involuntary medication of criminal defendants. He directs the Center for Law and Social Responsibility at New England Law. Learn more

Learning Outcomes

When you graduate from New England Law with a certificate in Criminal Practice and Procedure, you will:

  • Be prepared to work in a criminal law/trial setting.
  • Have hands-on experience related to your professional goals and interests.
  • Understand the roles of a lawyer in various criminal law contexts.
  • Know your professional and ethical responsibilities to your clients—and appreciate the power of the law and your ability to affect the lives and well-being of others.
  • Have strong foundational lawyering skills, such as legal research and analysis, problem-solving, and communicating effectively. 

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