The Center for Criminal Law and Policy promotes study, research, and teaching in the practice of criminal law and in criminal justice policy. The Center builds on Thomas Jefferson’s history of developing leaders in the criminal bar, including current San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and current San Diego County Public Defender Henry C. Coker.
Our primary goal is to provide a unique program of study for participating Thomas Jefferson students, so that they are prepared to make meaningful contributions to the criminal law from the day they graduate. We equip our students with the tools they need to succeed in criminal law practice or in policy work on criminal justice issues.
In addition to our program of study, we organize events about criminal law policy and practice for students, faculty, and the legal community in San Diego.
The Center houses two different programs for Thomas Jefferson students to engage in the study of criminal law: the Criminal Law Fellowship Program (for entering students) and the Certificate in Criminal Law and Policy Program (open to all Thomas Jefferson students).
The Criminal Law Fellowship Program
The Criminal Law Fellowship Program is a 3-year program, reserved for promising incoming students with a strong interest in pursuing a career in criminal law. The program is limited to students who apply and are admitted before their first semester at Thomas Jefferson.
The program allows Fellows to make criminal law a central part of their law school education, right from the beginning. During their first semester, Fellows take a specialized legal writing class that focuses on problems involving criminal law and procedure. In their second semester, Fellows have the opportunity to attend a special 1-unit criminal trial practice seminar, team-taught by leading criminal law practitioners. During their second and third years, Fellows receive priority registration for criminal law electives at Thomas Jefferson, including specialized trial practice sections focused on criminal law.
Throughout the program, the Center Directors host special lunch sessions for the Fellows with criminal law practitioners. These lunch meetings give the Fellows to learn about different aspects of criminal law practice in an informal setting—from DUI trial defense, to criminal appeals, to prosecuting federal crimes.
The Center for Criminal Law and Policy Certificate Program
The Center for Criminal Law and Policy also oversees a Certificate program. The Certificate recognizes a student’s achievement and proficiency in the study of criminal law.
All Thomas Jefferson students with an interest in criminal law (including Criminal Law Fellows) are eligible to enroll and participate in the program. But, to earn the Certificate in Criminal Law and Policy, students must satisfy a set of rigorous requirements.
These requirements include earning at least 12 units in criminal law electives, completing a substantial writing project on criminal law, and participating in a semester or summer internship or externship related to criminal law.
If you are a current Thomas Jefferson student who is interested in enrolling in the Certificate program, you can do so here.
Important Certificate in Criminal Law and Policy documents:
• Certificate Application (for graduating students)
• Online Enrollment Form (for current students)