Criminal Law, Justice & Policy Program 

What happens in our criminal legal system impacts communities far beyond what happens to individual criminal cases and with individual defendants. There are continuing national and statewide efforts to reform our criminal legal system and to reduce incarceration rates. Texas A&M has a rich and varied curriculum to prepare students to practice in this vibrant legal field. A consistently high percentage of the Law School’s graduates, nearly 25%, work in our criminal legal system as either prosecutors or defense attorneys.

Through the Criminal Law, Justice & Policy Program students have an opportunity to learn about criminal law, to critically analyze criminal policy, and to develop ​ legal skills through a large variety of courses, including hands-on work with our Criminal Defense Clinic, Innocence Project, and Externships. You can earn a Criminal Law, Justice & Policy Concentration.


  • negotiating crime book coverProgram Director Cynthia Alkon launches her new textbook Negotiating Crime:  Plea Bargaining, Problem Solving, and Dispute Resolution in the Criminal Context (Carolina Academic Press), co-authored with Professor Andrea Schneider. This groundbreaking, first of its kind textbook covers all of the processes through which criminal cases are resolved in the United States beyond trials. Texas A&M School of Law Dean Robert Ahdieh and Aggie Dispute Resolution Program Director Nancy Welsh joined Alkon and Schneider to discuss the book at a reception on November 11, 2019, at Texas A&M School of Law.

  • Wrongfully-Convicted Amanda Knox, Anna Vasquez Visit Texas A&M Law

    amanda knox anna vasquezTexas A&M University School of Law's Innocence Project clinic welcomed Amanda Knox, Anna Vasquez and Prof. Mike Ware, Innocence Project of Texas Executive Director. Knox and Vasquez shared their stories of being wrongfully convicted and exonerated after serving time behind bars.
    ► Learn more.

Paths to Practice Success

Student Organization

  • Criminal Law Society

    The Texas A&M University School of Law Criminal Law Society promotes dialogue and activities regarding criminal justice practice, scholarship, and policymaking.

    Ashley PhillipsAshley M. Phillips
    J.D. '20
    President, Texas A&M School of Law Criminal Law Society

    Meet Ashley

    Ashley is a 3L and plans on pursuing a career in litigation with a focus in criminal law, and specifically, crimes against children. She was awarded the Public Interest Law Fellowship through the law school this past summer and used it to work at the Collin County District Attorney's Office in McKinney, Texas. She was assigned to a Misdemeanor trial team and also worked closely with the Crimes Against Children Division. Ashley was able to help prepare new cases, trial preparations, assist with docket days, and use her bar card to argue her own hearings! She is also serving as the current Criminal Law Society president and working to introduce the school to criminal law opportunities and discuss the policies and reasonings behind our criminal justice system.

    Erin DohnalekErin Dohnalek
    J.D. '20
    Vice President, Texas A&M School of Law Criminal Law Society 

    Meet Erin

    Erin is a 3L pursuing criminal law, specifically criminal defense. She has focused her law school career on criminal law, working in many different facets of the criminal justice system. Her 1L year, she started at the Dallas County Public Defender's Office and eventually moved to the Rockwall County Criminal District Attorney's Office in the beginning of her 2L year, working specifically in the Family Violence Division. From there, she has been solely working in private criminal defense. Last year, she obtained her Third Year Bar Card, and to date, has received three dismissals based on constitutional violations. She also currently works as the Criminal Law Society's Vice President and aims to introduce more criminal defense opportunities to the law students of Texas A&M. She plans to practice in Atlanta, GA after law school.

    Manda MaierManda Mosley Maier
    J.D. '20
    Treasurer, Texas A&M School of Law Criminal Law Society

    Meet Manda

    Manda is a 3L pursing a criminal law concentration. She previously worked at a criminal defense attorney's office in Austin before coming to law school, then she worked for a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney on a high-profile Dallas County murder trial involving a police officer; and worked on other Tarrant, Wise, Parker, Denton, and Palo Pinto County criminal matters. She held an externship with the Tarrant County District Attorney's office Spring of her 2L year and worked with a felony court team extensively on discovery and trial preparation for two murder cases, including a double capital murder case. She participates in Mock Trial, and currently serves as the Criminal Law Society's Treasurer. Manda aims to work at the TCDA's office after graduation.