Curriculum Guide · Courses
Federal Fraud Prosecution: Theory and Practice
Dean O'Sullivan and Professor Edmonds
J.D. Practicum 1118 | 5 credit hours
This practicum will immerse students in the law, theory, and practice of federal fraud prosecutions. The primary teaching goal is for the students to experience the complexity and challenges of investigating economic crime, with particular emphasis on how abstract legal theories impact actual prosecution of white-collar crime. In the 3-unit, mandatory pass-fail, field work portion of the class, students will work for at least 15 hours per week in the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and will be assigned to one of three units within the Fraud Section: the Corporate, Securities, and Financial Institution Fraud Unit; the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act Unit; or the Health Care Fraud Unit. Student assignments to a particular unit will be made by the professors, who will take student preferences into account but cannot guarantee that all preferences can be accommodated. Students will be assisting prosecutors in the investigation and prosecution of complex economic crimes, and their projects may include analysis of pending legal issues, assistance in drafting motions or other legal filings, investigatory work to identify key facts critical to ongoing issues, and legal analysis of potential legislative reforms or other policy issues. The field work will be managed by senior experienced federal prosecutors under the direction of an Assistant Chief of the Fraud Section and Adjunct Professor Nathaniel B. Edmonds, who together with Professor Julie O’Sullivan, will work to integrate work assignments with classroom instruction. In the 2-unit, graded, seminar portion of the class, co-taught by Professors O’Sullivan and Edmonds, students will study subjects including the role of the prosecutor, complex economic crime investigation techniques, charging decisions, pre-trial resolutions, discovery issues, trial-related issues, and the law governing (and practice challenges of) various types of federal fraud cases. The classes will involve interactive discussions and the use of exercises, as well as the review and interpretation of statutes, regulations, legal precedent, and DOJ guidance memoranda. Students will be required to email the professors weekly reflection memos in advance of class so that the professors can help students integrate their classroom learning with their professional experiences in the field. The professors will identify for each student one issue identified in the reflection memos that may enable the class as a whole to better understand the intersection between theory and practice, and will ask each student to make one 10 minute presentation analyzing the issue. The grade for the seminar will be determined by (1) a final paper of approximately 20 pages in length focusing on a complex legal or investigative issue identified in course work or during the field work portion of the practicum; (2) the weekly reflection memos and the 10-minute oral presentation; and (3) class participation.
Prerequisite: Criminal Justice (or the equivalent Democracy and Coercion) or Criminal Procedure. Students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Property, or their first-year elective).
Students may not receive credit for this class and the practicum class Federal Criminal Investigation: Investigating Extraterritorial Crime.
This course is offered for 2 credits and 5 credits. Students in the 2 credit course will not participate in the field placement. For students in the 5 credit course: 2 credits will be awarded for the 2-hour weekly seminar and 3 credits will be awarded for approximately 15 hours of supervised work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks. The seminar portion will be graded. The 3 credits of supervised work are mandatory pass/fail and count toward the 7 credit pass/fail limit.