Cynthia Alkon

Professor of Law and Director, Criminal Law, Justice & Policy Program


Cynthia Alkon

“The law matters in our daily lives. Democracy and rule of law depend on good lawyers who work hard to help others and to make their corner of the world a better place.”

Get to Know Cynthia Alkon

What drew you to the law?

While living abroad and volunteering in an economically depressed area, I saw that knowledge of the law helped people live better lives by allowing them to advocate for improvements that they were legally entitled to have. I wanted to learn how to use the law to make the world a better place by improving the lives of individuals. I still believe the law can be a powerful tool to better our communities, our state, our country and our world.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

What I love about teaching is that it allows me to provide opportunities for my students to think about things they haven’t thought about before, or to think about things differently.

What do you hope students gain from your courses?

I hope that my classes will help students to think about how to be a lawyer and how they will practice law. I hope that my classes will contribute to students learning how to be both highly professional and highly skilled in how they use the law and the variety of processes that make up the practice of law, such as negotiation.

What did you do prior to entering academia?

I was a deputy public defender in Los Angeles County and represented criminal defendants charged with crimes ranging from misdemeanors to serious felonies such as murder. After the Public Defender’s Office I lived abroad and did rule of law development work in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. I lived and worked in Belarus, Albania and Poland and supervised projects in over 20 countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. I focused on issues of criminal justice reform in these countries. I worked for the American Bar Association (in Belarus) and for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (in Albania and Poland).

What are your research interests?

My research focuses on criminal dispute resolution (including plea bargaining), comparative criminal procedure and rule of law reform.


Link to my publications.


Presentations are listed on my CV.


  • Dispute resolution, including negotiation
  • Plea bargaining
  • Specialty courts: drug courts, veteran’s courts, mental health courts, etc.
  • Criminal procedure
  • Comparative criminal procedure
  • Rule of law development


  • Criminal Law
  • Negotiation: Theory & Practice
  • Advanced Criminal Procedure
  • ADR Survey

Academic Experience

  • Director, Criminal Law, Justice & Policy Program
    Texas A&M University School of Law (2019-present)
  • Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
    Texas A&M University School of Law (2016-​April 2018)
  • Professor of Law
    Texas A&M University School of Law (2015-Present)
  • Associate Professor of Law
    Texas A&M University School of Law (2013-2015)
  • Associate Professor of Law
    Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (2010-2013)
  • Assistant Professor of Law
    Appalachian School of Law (2006-10)


  • LL.M. in Dispute Resolution, University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law
  • J.D., U.C. Hastings College of Law
    • Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, Associate Articles Editor and Staff Member
  • B.A. in International Relations, San Francisco State University, magna cum laude

Other Professional Activities

  • Past Chair, AALS Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
  • Contributor to the blog