Course Catalog

Criminal Law: Legal Theory and Practice: Writing in Law Practice (5)

This writing and legal practice course will provide students with a platform to build upon the principles learned in first year Written and Oral Advocacy by developing real-world legal practice skills. The course will have an emphasis on criminal defense issues that arise after sentencing, including motions to re-open post-conviction cases, possible post-convictions issues, and appellate issues. In addition to class work, students will have the opportunity to work on actual criminal cases.

The course will test students’ ability to make sense of criminal law and criminal procedure and be able to convey that understanding in writing and in argument. As first-year students in Written and Oral Advocacy, students began the process of learning how to write persuasively with a trial memorandum and an appellate brief. This course will work with students on continuing the process of becoming better legal writers, including how to write an effective reply brief as well as how to interpret an appellate decision. Students will work on real cases and assist with writing motions, briefs, and cert petitions. Students will interact with actual clients, review actual transcripts, and help prepare court filings representing indigent clients currently incarcerated in Maryland prisons. There will also be the possibility of arguing cases, either in moot court format or perhaps, even before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

Students can expect class work to focus on their various case experiences. Also, class time will involve a comprehensive examination of criminal appellate and post-conviction practice. Students will be assigned a text book that uses actual examples taken from leading advocates. Also, the class will rely on real-world cases and arguments, highlighting both successes and failures. Students will be given numerous opportunities to work on their research and writing skills, as well as to learn effective writing and revising techniques by participating in the commenting process and conducting in-class reviews of briefs, cert petitions, and oral arguments. Lastly, class work will delve into access to justice and ethical issues that arise during the criminal process. This will include discussing how to help people who have been in jail for over three decades get their cases re-opened in courts throughout Maryland, how to provide effective assistance of counsel, what constitutes ineffective assistance, and how to properly balance the lawyer’s ideas with the client’s desires in a criminal case.

Students will have a weekly class where the entire class will meet. Students will also work in teams on their assigned cases and can expect weekly meetings between their respective teams and the professor to discuss their work.

Current & Previous Instructors:
Norman Handwerger; Daniel Kobrin;

559S (CRN: 26436)       Credits: 5
    Handwerger; Kobrin.
    Spring, 2015 (Day).
    Mon: 1:05-3:05  Wed: 2:10-3:05.
    Room 307.

Key to Codes in Course Descriptions
P: Prerequisite
C: Prerequisite or Concurrent Requirement
R: Recommended Prior or Concurrent Course

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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Copyright © 2015, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved