Law 561A/B - Ethical Lawyering in the Criminal Context

Sharon Dolovich

Sharon Dolovich

Professor of Law
Faculty Director, UCLA Prison Law & Policy Program
B.A. Queen's University
Ph.D. Cambridge University
J.D. Harvard Law School
UCLA Faculty Since 2000
Course Description:

Whether one is a prosecutor or a criminal defense attorney, the practice of criminal law raises difficult moral issues. In this seminar, we will address several of these issues.  Two sessions will deal with prosecutors, one session with criminal defense lawyers, and another with a variety of ethical conundrums that arise in criminal practice generally.  Seminar students will together choose the topic for the final session. Discussions of criminal justice ethics are often abstracted from the realities of the criminal justice system and the modern prison experience. In this seminar, we will take these realities as our starting point, and consider what it means to practice criminal law in an era of mass incarceration, and in which the burdens of both crime and punishment fall disproportionately on poor people and people of color.  We will also bear in mind the need for a functioning criminal system to vindicate society’s interest in protecting people from being victimized and generally ensuring public safety.  One guiding question for our discussions will be extent to which the professional roles of prosecutors and defense attorneys as currently conceived contribute to or detract from the various public values (fairness, nondiscrimination, accuracy, public safety, etc.) the criminal system is supposed to realize.

This course is limited to students who plan to be either prosecutors or criminal defense attorneys.

All meetings to take place in the fall semester. Class will meet in the Verizon room from 6:15-8:45pm on the following Thursdays:

Aug 29

Sept 12

Sept 26

Oct 24

Nov 14

Course Learning Outcomes:


Course Information:
​Faculty Term Course Section ​Schedule ​Units Requisite Satisfies SAW
Sharon Dolovich 19F 561A SEM 3 Unscheduled 0.5 No No
  Course meets 6:15pm - 8:45pm on 8/29, 9/12, 9/26, 10/24, 11/14. Third year students have priority to enroll during first pass.
Sharon Dolovich 20S 561B SEM 3 Unscheduled 0.5 No No
  Second part of a yearlong course. The Records Office will process enrollment for this course. Course meets 6:15pm - 8:45pm on 8/29, 9/12, 9/26, 10/24, 11/14.