Criminal Law at william Mitchell
Mitchell’s criminal law courses are taught by professors who have worked as prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges who heard criminal appeals. At Mitchell, students learn from experts who have real-world experience— then they have opportunities to put the knowledge and skills they’ve learned in the classroom to work as student-certified attorneys, defending real clients in real cases.
Criminal Law at William Mitchell Courses
Students can choose from an expansive array of 21 courses that cover the fundamental principles of criminal law and procedure, as well as advanced criminal law from state, federal, and international perspectives.
Students prosecute real misdemeanor cases and attend skills exercise classes. Each student, under the direct supervision of a practicing city attorney, observes and conducts the charging of cases, arraignments, pretrial conferences, court trials, and, where possible, a jury trial.
In addition, the trial advocacy program uses mock trials to provide skills, such as examining witnesses and giving opening and closing statements.
Criminal Appeals Clinic In this advanced research and writing clinic, students prepare an appellate brief on behalf of a criminal defendant under the supervision of a state public defender and argue an appeal before a three-judge panel.
District Court Externship Students earn credit working with state court judges, magistrates or referees, and occasionally a federal judge. Activities include attending chamber discussions and observing trials and hearings. Students also meet frequently with lawyers who argue cases before judges to discuss judicial ethics and the judicial process.
• American Association for Justice • American Civil Liberties Union • National Security and the Law Association • American Constitution Society
Only at Mitchell: Student argues in federal court
John Radsan Former C.I.A. assistant general counsel
Mitchell student Sarah Gibson got to do something very few law students ever get to do: argue an appeal before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Ted Sampsell-Jones High-profile criminal defense attorney
The rare opportunity came after working with Professor Brad Colbert in the Criminal Appeals
John Sonsteng Former Dakota County attorney
case before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Their client was appealing a decision in a suit
Brad Colbert One of Minnesota’s most prominent and successful public defenders
Edward Toussaint Former chief judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals Nancy Ver Steegh Nationally renowned expert in domestic violence law
Clinic. Impressed by her work, Professor Colbert asked Gibson if she wanted to argue the contending the Minnesota Department of Corrections violated his rights. Gibson says it’s tricky to grade her performance, feeling like she did well on some questions and found others more difficult. But her professor gives her high marks all around. “She did great,” says Colbert. “She was unflappable. It’s a really hard case and they asked hard questions.”
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