"No lawyer can be a critical-thinking generalist today if he or she cannot distinguish a mean from a mode or an independent variable from a dependent variable. As even a casual review of newspapers and television will support, science permeates every corner of the practice of law." —David L. Faigman, Legal Alchemy: The Use and Misuse of Science in the Law (2000)
“The way the classes are designed is really helpful,” Conder said. “Every couple of weeks we go over a different module. First we did firearms, then blood spatter, then toxicology, and then arson. It’s really given me a good foundation of what the science is and what its limitations are.” — Kristin Conder, LL.M. '16, staff attorney for the 17th Judicial Circuit in Kentucky.
Recent developments have demonstrated that a solid grounding in the scientific method and forensic evidence is critical for any attorney, especially for those practicing criminal law, from the more than 300 DNA-based exonerations that have taken place since the early 1990s, to the uncovering of numerous scandals in forensic laboratories across the country, to the recommendations put forth by the National Academy of Sciences in a 2009 report.
"There are important differences between the quest for truth in the courtroom and the quest for truth in the laboratory.” — Justice Harry Blackmun, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 597-97 (1993).
The WVU College of Law, in partnership with the WVU Department of Forensic and Investigative Science, is proud to be a pioneer in the criminal justice field by offering the country’s first and only graduate law degree program in Forensic Justice. While many American law schools offer upper-level courses in areas such as expert testimony and forensic evidence, no other ABA-approved U.S. law school currently offers an LL.M. in forensic justice.
WVU has long been a leader in the field of forensic sciences and WVU Law is a natural home for this LL.M. program.
The LL.M. curriculum benefits from the forensic and investigative science expertise at WVU while allowing LL.M. candidates the opportunity to combine breadth (that is, exposure to a wide range of forensic methods) with depth (the opportunity to conduct original, independent research in a narrower area of interest).