An understanding of criminal justice is fundamental to any lawyer’s education. At the University of Virginia, the nation’s leading criminal law faculty offer an in-depth array of courses on both the substantive criteria of guilt or innocence and the procedures used in the arrest, prosecution and punishment of offenders. On topics ranging from the unreliability of eyewitness identifications to the consequences of plea bargaining, Virginia’s faculty are looking at the criminal justice system with fresh eyes and helping students focus on how to make a more just society.
Virginia students do not study criminal law only from a distance. They also enroll in clinics that offer hands-on involvement in death penalty cases, criminal prosecution or defense, and innocence cases. In these courses, students explore real-world problems and develop a nuanced understanding of the issues facing the criminal justice system today.
Finally, the Law School supplements formal classes and participatory clinics with a wide range of extracurricular activities dedicated to criminal law. Virginia has a journal devoted to criminal law — one of only a handful of student-run publications on that topic — as well as an active innocence group and advocacy organizations focused on rape and domestic violence.
Collectively, these experiences lead Virginia graduates to coveted positions in the U.S. Department of Justice Honors Program, in U.S. attorneys’ offices, and in district attorney and defense offices across the country.
CONTACT: Professor John C. Jeffries Jr.