First cohort in Criminal Law Track graduates

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When the Maryland Carey Law Class of 2024 graduates today, a select group will boast the distinction of being the first cohort to complete the new Criminal Law Track. 

Professors David Gray and Maneka Sinha co-direct the program designed to prepare students to excel as prosecutors, public defenders, criminal defense attorneys, and other practitioners in the criminal legal system. 

Diana Morales ’24 aims to be a public defender and advocated with Gray to establish the Criminal Law Track at Maryland Carey Law. She saw the program as an opportunity to tailor her legal education to align with her career goals and appreciates the connections she made with supportive peers and professors including Gray, Sinha, and Doug Colbert. 

For the experiential portion of the program, Morales opted for the Criminal Defense Clinic, led by Sinha.  

“[The clinic] was fantastic, the best experience I’ve had in law school,” said Morales, who will serve as senior clerk to Chief Judge Audrey Carrión, Baltimore City Circuit Court, before launching her career as a public defender. “It prepared me for the real world and gave me the opportunity to help people.” 

The Criminal Law Track consists of three core courses, Evidence and Criminal Procedure I and II and an elective. Students pick from a wide array of electives, such as Juvenile Law; Race and the Criminal Justice System; Cybercrime; Military Justice; National Security, Electronic Surveillance, and the Fourth Amendment; Restorative Justice; and Sentencing Reform.  

Students also participate in an experiential course to build hands-on skills in criminal law.  

Many options are available to fulfill this requirement, including clinics, such as the Criminal Defense Clinic; Youth, Education, and Justice Clinic; Survivors of Violence Clinic; Gender, Trauma and Prison Clinic; and Immigration Clinic, among others. In the fall, Sinha will launch the nation’s first Forensic Defense Clinic. 

Alternatively, track participants may complete externships in the offices of prosecutors or public defenders; the U.S. Department of Justice; non-profit organizations; or with state and federal judges who preside over criminal cases. 

The Criminal Law Track builds on a long history of expertise and leadership at Maryland Carey Law in the criminal law field. Students can now focus their legal studies through a purposeful selection of courses and experiential opportunities giving them the knowledge and skills to be practice ready in multiple arenas involving criminal law.