Graduate School for Prosecutors
By Eamon Kircher-Allen
Edited by Martin Lasden
Good prosecutors always seem to be quick studies. But with white-collar crimes becoming more sophisticated, and with new technologies such as DNA analysis developing at increasing speed, the learning curve for prosecuting attorneys is only getting steeper. All of which argues for additional education.
Enter Chapman University. Two months ago its law school, in conjunction with the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA), got the green light from the American Bar Association to launch a new master of laws in prosecutorial science program.
The two-year program-inspired by a CDAA concept paper-is the first of its kind in the country, according to Dr. John C. Eastman, an associate dean at Chapman and the director of the Claremont Institute's Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence.
Why Chapman? One reason, suggests Roy Hubert, the director of special projects at the CDAA, is that the law school itself is still relatively new-having been founded in 1995-which makes it a good partner for experimental ideas.
The program will start this summer with just 20 students, then enroll 40 the following year. Among the course offerings will be professional ethics, trial tactics, and advanced technologies. Students will also be required to write in-depth research articles-with the scope of a master's thesis-based on their scholarship and experience in the courtroom. The program, however, is not for those just out of law school. In fact, to be eligible for CDAA scholarships, applicants must have at least five years of prosecutorial experience. "JD students get only a surface exposure to prosecution," says Eastman. "I view this program as training specialists."
Both Chapman and the CDAA have high hopes for the program. "I'm getting a lot of calls from DAs across the country," says Eastman. "I think it will be a model for others." Eastman doesn't see a prosecutorial master of laws degree taking off at every law school, but he does think this kind of training will only become more important-at least for experts in specialized areas of prosecution.
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