Mercer Law School next fall will begin offering a Master of Laws degree in Federal Criminal Practice and Procedure, the first of its kind in the nation. The one-year advanced legal degree will prepare graduates for careers in federal criminal law.
The School has significant faculty expertise in both federal criminal prosecution and defense and the new degree will provide graduates with the depth of knowledge to pursue a career in federal criminal practice as a prosecutor, federal defender or private defense counsel. The program builds on the School’s international reputation in the area of federal criminal law, including its affiliation with the National Criminal Defense College, which is a program that draws defense attorneys from across the country. Jim Fleissner, co-director of the program and a faculty member of the Law School, was responsible for designing the curriculum for the program.
“The new LL.M. program is an ideal fit for the Law School and a great contribution to the legal profession,” said Dean Gary J. Simson. “It draws on the Mercer law faculty’s excellence and national recognition in federal criminal practice and procedure, and it will be the only program of its kind in the country. Graduates of the program will acquire a level of expertise that will make them especially attractive candidates for positions, both prosecution and defense, in federal criminal practice – a field of ever-increasing national importance.”
The degree requires completion of a comprehensive two-semester, 24-credit-hour program composed of eight courses specifically created for the LL.M. program and designed to provide students a solid foundation of knowledge and skills for all aspects of federal criminal practice, including substantive federal law, grand jury investigations, pre-trial practice, trial advocacy, sentencing, and appellate practice.
“In designing the curriculum for the program, I drew on my experience over the past 25 years, which has been split between the Department of Justice and law school teaching,” Fleissner said. “I wanted the content of the curriculum to provide a solid foundation for entry into federal criminal practice as a prosecutor or defense attorney, the sort of comprehensive foundation not available in J.D. programs and that those in federal criminal practice usually acquire on a piecemeal basis. With the help of input from many experienced prosecutors, defense attorneys and academics, I believe Mercer has established a singular LL.M. program that provides a unique opportunity for recent graduates and lawyers interested in federal criminal practice.”
In addition to Fleissner, several other experts will be teaching classes in the program, including:
The degree is pending review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and acquiescence by the American Bar Association.