Mercer University
Mercer Law School

Course Descriptions

Please select the courses you would like to review from the list below.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Courses are graded unless indicated as Pass/Fail. Unless otherwise indicated, all courses will employ one or more evaluation methods, such as a final examination. Students are encouraged to speak with instructors for more details about course coverage and requirements.

LLM Courses

Fall Semester

Advanced Federal Criminal Trial Advocacy LAW 711 3 Hours
This course combines in-depth study of advanced issues in federal evidence law and trial practice with simulation exercises concerning advanced problems in federal criminal trial advocacy. Topics will include development of trial strategy, jury selection, expert testimony, recent developments concerning the Confrontation Clause and hearsay, and direct and cross-examination of cooperating witnesses and law enforcement agents. (Open to J.D. students with prerequisites Evidence and Trial Practice)

Ethical Issues in Federal Criminal Cases LAW 709 2 Hours
Consistent with the need for emphasis on ethics and professionalism, the LL.M. in Federal Criminal Practice and Procedure not only highlights ethical issues throughout the curriculum, but this course focuses exclusively on those issues. The range of ethical and professionalism issues in federal criminal practice is extensive, including the prosecutor=s Brady obligations, the limits of appropriate witness preparation, the line between proper and improper closing argument, the handling of possible conflicts of interest by defense counsel, and appropriate bases for a prosecutor=s charging decisions. (Open to J.D. students with prerequisite Law of Lawyering)

Federal Criminal Pre-trial Practice LAW 710 3 Hours
This canvasses the rules, statutes, and constitutional provisions that govern the litigation of federal criminal cases in the pre-trial stage of litigation, from preliminary proceedings and bail, through discovery and motion practice. Besides the law, this course will focus on preparation, investigation, and strategy for each part of the process. Topics include preliminary proceedings, procedures for removal to another district, practice under the Bail Reform Act, practice under the federal discovery rules and statutes, the prosecutor=s duty to disclose evidence favorable to the accused, and pre-trial motion practice, including strategies for litigating pre-trial motions and a survey of possible motions (such as motions to suppress evidence, motions to dismiss, motions for severance, and motions under the Speedy Trial Act). Aspects of the right to counsel, such as choice of counsel and conflicts of interest will be addressed. The process of negotiating and entering guilty pleas will receive significant attention, including the requirements for entry of a valid guilty plea and special considerations for non-citizen defendants. Simulations exercises and writing assignments will be employed. (Open to J.D. students)

Survey of Substantive Federal Criminal Law LAW 708 4 Hours
This course surveys the major statutory vehicles of federal prosecution, along with defenses to crimes under federal law. The course integrates the study of substantive federal criminal law with an examination of the principles of drafting criminal charges. The course will address various statutes often classified as AWhite Collar Crimes,@ including the mail/wire fraud statutes, money laundering laws, the RICO statute, securities fraud laws, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and statutes utilized in public corruption prosecutions. The course also will cover other major bases of federal prosecution, including the federal narcotics, terrorism, immigration, tax, and firearms laws, as well as the crimes of obstruction of justice, perjury, and false statement. This course includes materials on the scope of federal criminal jurisdiction, trends in federal prosecution priorities, corporate and individual liability, conspiracy liability, and related topics. (Open to J.D. students)

Spring Semester

Adv Topics in Fed Criminal Procedure and Evidence LAW 713 2 Hours
This course builds complements the students' prior study of criminal procedure and evidence with an array of cutting-edge topics, such as electronic surveillance, computer and smart phone searches, undercover operations, eyewitness identification, grand jury practice, grants of immunity, admissibility of electronically stored information (such as e-mail, internet postings, and social networking), recent developments in the law of search and seizure and interrogation, issues arising in corporate investigations, discovery of classified information, and more. Pre-requisites for JD students: Criminal Procedure: Constitutional Dimensions and Evidence.

Capstone Writing Project LAW 717 2 Hours
Students enrolled will complete a substantial writing project that is either (1) a research paper analyzing a major issue in federal criminal law and procedure or (2) a trial or appellate brief. Projects will be approved in advance by the LL.M. directors. A faculty advisor will be appointed to provide counsel and grade to writing project. (Open only to LLM students.)

Federal Crim Post-Conviction Practice & Procedure LAW 712 3 Hours
This course focuses on practice and procedure in federal trial and appellate courts after a guilty verdict. Post-conviction motion practice will be covered. Substantial attention will be devoted to federal sentencing practice and procedure, including a detailed examination of practice under the now-advisory Federal Sentencing Guidelines. This course also will cover basic federal criminal appellate practice, including practice under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, and the basic principles of federal appeals, such as the final order doctrine, preservation of issues for appeal, plain error, harmless error, and standards of review. The Supreme Court=s procedures for certiorari review and the statutory framework for collateral attacks also will be covered. Students will participate in a simulation exercise based on an actual federal criminal appeal, writing a brief and presenting oral argument. (Open to J.D. students)

Federal Criminal Case Studies LAW 714 2 Hours
In this course, each student will select a notable federal criminal case and study the case in-depth, including review of court documents. Each student will make a presentation to the seminar concerning the chosen trial. The presentations will highlight and discuss interesting aspects of the trial, such as substantive and procedural legal issues, evidentiary issues, strategic decisions and trial techniques of the lawyers, and ethical issues. (Open to J.D. students)

Federal Criminal Field Placement LAW 715 5 Hours
In the spring semester, each student will earn 5 hours in a field placement with a Federal Defender Office, U.S. Attorney=s Office, or other criminal practice office. The requirements for the field placement would include a classroom component under the direction of a faculty member. (There will be two sections of the classroom component -- one for students in defense offices and one for students in prosecution offices.)

Federal Criminal Litigation Skills Workshop LAW 716 3 Hours
This course focuses on the skills employed in prosecuting and defending federal criminal cases. The course will combine classroom discussion of advanced readings with simulation exercises concerning the following skills: (1) Investigating criminal cases, including interviewing techniques; (2) Counseling, including defense attorney counseling of clients and the prosecutors role in advising law enforcement agents and other prosecutors; (3) Negotiating guilty pleas; (4) Oral and written advocacy in the trial and appellate courts; (5) Trial strategy and techniques. (JD prerequisites: 3L students who have completed Trial Practice only.)