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Why Study International Criminal Law & Justice?

International criminal law and justice is a new and developing field. A focus on international criminal law & justice is a focus on transnational crimes, crimes that occur across one or more national borders. One need only look at the daily headlines across the world to understand its importance. Issues involving cyber crime, terrorism, human trafficking, drugs and weapons trafficking, and international white-collar crime are in the news everyday and everywhere.

May 20, 2020
  • Education
Handcuffs and wooden gavel

The legal issues involved in transnational crime do not fit into a well-developed body of law. They cross any number of boundaries. For example, to effectively deal with human trafficking issues, one needs to understand how criminal justice systems in a wide variety of countries work. One needs to understand what kind of treaties the prosecuting country has with the country in which the traffickers operate. One needs to know the extent to which one country can prosecute individuals in another country for crimes for which none of the conduct occurred in the prosecuting country.

These issues are present whether one is looking at human trafficking, cyber crime, weapons trafficking or terrorism. As every country’s economic health becomes more and more dependent on other countries, the importance of understanding transnational crime grows exponentially.

The relevance of international law to students

Students of international criminal law develop valuable insights into national and international policy and the global legal systems.

Those who practice law at a national level are sure to come face-to-face with transnational crime and the agenda-setting developments that it entails. “We have international controversies and are engaged in the war against terror,” says Dr. Michèl Olivier, lecturer in international law. “Students must also understand that we [the UK] are part of NATO and, even if you practice in [your home country], you will be confronted with international law.”

International criminal law is both a specialized subject and an overarching concept that touches every area of life and law. The subject is acutely relevant for a variety of placements and jobs with bodies such as the UN, EU, CIA, and Interpol. Criminal law services are in ever-higher demand, and an understanding of the complexity of the local and transnational crime landscape is a valuable attribute for a budding lawyer.

Experiential learning empowers law students to develop a critical understanding of the political and ethical nuances of transnational crime. The annals of law may be in print, but their application -- particularly in the relatively young and fast-developing field of international criminal law -- requires the kind of active engagement that comes with practice-driven schooling.

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A leading school of international law

The University of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce School of Law is a top 100 law school, which boasts a 4.2:1 student to full-time faculty ratio, meaning that students have access to intensive and meaningful engagement with the school’s roster of leading international practitioners, scholars, and experts.

“Our classes are in a blended format,” explains Tonya Evans, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. “That means professors aren’t just delivering information, they’re also leaving time for discussions between students. When I’m reviewing participation, I’m not just looking for how many times a student comments, but how meaningful their contribution is.”

This level of engagement extends to the digital sphere. "As a technology-forward law school, we're different from other law schools in that we embraced online learning years ago. We serve as a model for other law schools in this space,” says Dean Megan Carpenter. In fact, the school has the most comprehensive offering of intellectual property and technology law courses in the US.

The master’s and LL.M. programs in International Criminal Law and Justice (ICLJ)are taught exclusively online so that students have access to the global faculty as well as a cohort of students with a broad range of international experiences to offer.

“Our students are often already professionals in the field they’re looking to become experts in,” says Albert Scherr, Chair of the International Criminal Law and Justice Program. “Their knowledge is what makes teaching these courses so rewarding. I can have in-depth conversations with these students and really help them get to the next level in their careers. It’s the personal interactions I have that not only make me a better online professor, but also give the online student exactly what they need to succeed.”

The students agree: “The UNH online learning environment enables classmates to interact in a meaningful and constructive manner,” says Natalie Tackaberry, LL.M. in International Criminal Law & Justice ’19. “The faculty engage with students on discussion boards and arrange calls regularly to check in.”

The school’s International Criminal Law programs are well suited to practicing lawyers, but they are also ideal for students, professionals, and scholars of diplomacy, criminal justice, the military, and law enforcement. Both the master’s and LL.M. provide a focused tour through 12 required courses, including International White Collar Crime, Comparative Criminal Justice Systems, and Piracy and Terrorism. Additional courses include International Legal Research, Comparative Criminal Justice Systems, and a research project, and there is a wide choice of electives should students wish to specialize in CyberCrime, Human Trafficking, or another area of international criminal law.

One such elective is Intellectual Property Crimes. Intellectual property is a specialty of the Franklin Pierce School of Law, which is ranked as the number five law school in the US for IP. The school offers three intellectual property degrees for IP professionals who wish to work at the very cutting edge of the field.

Micky Minhas, former Vice President of Microsoft, is the incoming Executive Director of the Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property. “I look forward to facilitating the real-world interactions students need to get ahead,” says Minhas, “while also fueling growth in our IP programs to match marketplace demands.”

A career in international law.

The career prospects with an international criminal law degree from Franklin Pierce are vast. Potential occupations include counter-terrorism analyst, criminal history analyst, diplomat, global investigator, human rights advocate, intelligence analyst, immigration and customs agent, immigration lawyer, international court/tribunal judge, and counter-terrorism analyst. Please refer to the school’s Consumer Information, ABA Required Disclosures, but 96.7% of the school's JD graduates in 2019 found work within ten months of graduation. The 96.7% is derived directly from the school's 2019 ABA Employment Summary Report. The numerator was the number of students employed and the denominator was the number of students in the class. Alumni work in over 80 countries, at global tech giants, top law firms, and national IP offices, among other places.

“The ICLJ program has helped me immensely with my career,” adds LL.M. graduate Tackaberry. “I have started working with The Advocates for Human Rights on UN submissions and other rule of law issues. In addition, I am frequently contacted by other professionals on LinkedIn pursuing me due to my ICLJ degree from UNH Law."

If you have the ambition to work in the most profound and influential areas of 21st-century law, why not register your interest in a degree in International Criminal Law at the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law? The school will be accepting applications for Fall 2020 admission until August 1.

Article written in association with the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law.

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