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Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Criminal Law Project



In the mid 1950's the Northwestern Law School decided to expand on its involvement in the area of criminal law by establishing a Criminal Law Project. Under the auspices of the project, it wanted to set up new courses in the field, each lasting only a few days, similar to its Short Course for Prosecuting Attorneys which had been in existence since 1946. To fund the project, the School, under the direction of the Dean, Professor Ritchie, applied for a grant to the Ford Foundation, which awarded the School a sum of $300,000 over five years. The Criminal Law Project came under the directorship of Professor Fred Inbau.

The Law School used the grant to appoint new faculty, grant fellowships, continue existing courses, and to initiate new ones such as the Short Course for Defense Lawyers in Criminal Cases. One of the most popular of these courses was the Short Course for Newsmen in Crime News Analysis and Reporting, first held in March 1959. This course was held annually for the next two years, but due to a downturn in interest, the School decided instead to hold a Conference on Prejudicial News Reporting in Criminal Cases in the third year. The conference was apparently a success and was well-reported. This was only one of three conferences held during the grant period around issues concerning criminal law. In 1960, the Project financed an International Conference on Criminal Law Administration, and in 1961, a Conference of Criminal Court Judges and Legislators on Criminal Law Administration. In November 1962, it sponsored a Conference of Police Officials, Prosecuting Attorneys, Defense Counsel, Judges and Legislators regarding Detention and Arrest, Search and Seizure, Criminal Interrogation. When the grant expired in 1962-63, Northwestern applied to have it extended. The Ford Foundation agreed, and the project ran for another three years.

In 1964 the Law School applied for another Ford Foundation grant, this time to set up a Police Legal Advisers Program. For this purpose, the Foundation again granted them $300,000 over a five year period. This was a very successful program, and essentially trained young lawyers to assist and advise police departments nationally when faced with litigation. Under this Program, the Law School organized a series of four annual conferences between 1965 and 1969, each entitled Annual National Conference on Police Legal Advisors. It also sponsored a conference on “The Supreme Court and the Police” in 1966. When the grant expired, it was extended for another three years. The records are rather sketchy relating to this period, but it would appear that in 1970 the program moved from the Northwestern University School of Law to Washington, D.C.

By then, the Law School had received yet another Ford Foundation grant on criminal law. In 1967, Northwestern was granted $600,000 over five years to set up a Prosecution and Defense Criminal Law Program. As the title indicated, this program aimed at preparing students of law for a career as prosecutors and defense attorneys. The program had two phases. The first was interested in careers in this field. The second consisted of summer internships granted to promising law school students interested in criminal law. They were given the opportunity to work for a summer in a public law office countrywide. This grant expired in 1972.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

School of Law Records of the Ford Foundation Criminal Law Project

Identifier: 17/10
Abstract The records in this series are arranged into separate categories representing the courses, conferences, and programs supported by the Ford Foundation Criminal Law Grant. Much of the material consists of correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, concerned with budgetary issues or with annual reports submitted by the Law School to the Ford Foundation. Also included are brochures advertising courses and conferences subsidized by the grants; press reports on these events; instructors manuals;...
Dates: 1955-1974