College of Law to launch certificate programs focused on criminal practice, civil advocacy

Collage photo of law books, gavel, scales of justiceNIU’s College of Law has announced the creation of two new certificate programs: the Certificate in Criminal Practice and Certificate in Civil Advocacy programs.

These specialized programs will give NIU Law students the opportunity to focus their legal education toward one of two distinct concentrations that build on existing strengths at NIU Law.

The certificates will continue the law school’s long-standing commitment to seamless integration of skills throughout the curriculum, and creating strong “holistically trained” lawyers prepared for any practice setting.

“I am excited that our faculty has approved these certificate programs, as it marks a great new opportunity for our students to become skilled in important areas in which many of them will practice,” Dean Jennifer Rosato said.

“They will be able to serve as the most effective advocates for their clients, both because the certificate shows a student’s dedication to a certain area of law and allows the student to hone critical skills in that area.”

The certificate programs thoughtfully integrate three aspects of the program.

Students will need to:

  • complete certain required coursework to provide a strong foundation in the area;
  • fulfill a required capstone course such as an externship or clinical experience; and
  • participate in an extra-curricular or co-curricular legal skill development activity (including moot court competitions and pro bono service).

The certificate programs will be augmented by valuable capstone opportunities, such as an externship with the Illinois Innocence Project and the Zeke Giorgi Legal Clinic, which centers on domestic violence/elder law and juvenile justice issues.

Both programs will go into effect for members of the College of Law’s Class of 2014, who recently completed their first year of study. Law students that successfully complete the requirements of a certificate program will receive the certificate notation on their law school transcripts.

Plans also are in effect to expand the certificate programs to include additional concentrations in the future.

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