Criminal Law Pathway

Explore how criminal law is applied within these practice contexts.


  • Advise clients about plea negotiations that resolve most criminal cases after investigation
  • Advise clients about risks and strategies associated with proceeding to trial, and ensure clients make informed decisions about how to resolve charges
  • Advise clients about potential charges before they are filed, and develop a strategy for handling the situation


  • Understand transactions, if working on complex drug deals, business fraud cases and other white collar crimes
  • Draft plea agreements


  • Advocate primarily in an adversarial justice system
  • Investigate and analyze facts
  • Negotiate pleas
  • Spend time in court, if working on trials
  • Research and write briefs and motions, and perform oral advocacy, if working on appeals

Public Policy

Prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys develop public policy as they:

  • Litigate cases raising high impact issues of law
  • Propose legislation to address recurring challenges
  • Participate in criminal justice and public safety reform efforts
  • Sit on commissions and participate in public debates

In addition, prosecutors affect public policy as they:

  • Develop case filing standards
  • Advise law enforcement regarding legally appropriate procedures
  • Make sentencing recommendations.

And criminal defense attorneys impact public policy as they:

  • Challenge police practices or detention policies

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