Criminal Law and Procedure

Criminal lawyers are the ultimate trial lawyers. Of all lawyers, they are the most likely to deal regularly with fundamental issues of security, personal liberty, and constitutional rights. For students interested in criminal law, UC Davis School of Law is exceedingly well-equipped to offer the training and experience they need to enter this competitive field.

In their first semester of law school, students study Criminal Law, the substantive law of crime. After the first year they study Evidence, Criminal Procedure, and, usually, Trial Practice. Numerous advanced courses are also available in white collar crime, juvenile law, criminal justice administration, and related subjects. In addition, students have abundant opportunities to learn beyond the classroom. 

Participating in an externship program in judicial process and/or criminal justice is virtually essential to those interested in becoming criminal lawyers, and King Hall's well-developed and extensive externship programs offer unique opportunities to work directly with judges, prosecutors, and public defenders. Many students gain invaluable practical experience representing clients in the School of Law’s award-winning clinical programs, and also gain additional experience and perspective by participating in organizations such as the Criminal Law Association, Students Against Mass Incarceration, the Trial Practice Honors Board, Moot Court Board, UC Davis Law Review, and Social Justice Law Review, among others.

Students who graduate from King Hall with a concentration in Criminal Law and Procedure join a network of graduates with diverse, rewarding careers.  UC Davis law graduates are found in district attorney and public defender offices throughout California and nearby states. The California Attorney General's office is the largest single employer of UC Davis Law grads. Criminal law practice is the leading path to the judiciary, and you can find King Hall alumni who are former criminal law practitioners in trial and appellate judgeships in California and federal judgeships nationally. The Chief Justice of California, the Honorable Tani Cantil-Sakauye, is a member of the King Hall Class of 1984.