Center for Criminal Defense

The Center for Criminal Defense (CCD) provides trial level representation for adult criminal defendants as well as some advocacy at the post-conviction stage. Founded in 2003, the Center represents a wide range of clients who have cases pending in Cook County, the collar counties, various other venues in Illinois, and in the Federal courts. The Center provides students with hands-on experience defending clients in felony cases. This work includes pre-trial motion practice, evidentiary hearings, jury trials, and sentencing advocacy.

The CCD collaborates with The MacArthur Justice Center, the Appellate Advocacy Center, the Civil Litigation Center, the Children and Family Justice Center, and frequently partners with the Center on Wrongful Convictions. "Our goal is to furnish vigorous representation to persons charged with crimes. Often those allegations may not appear to be well founded, or at minimum, there exists a viable defense to the charge," says Center for Criminal Defense director Jeffrey Urdangen. "Our clients range from those accused of violent crimes to those charged white-collar offenses including, theft, fraud, and bribery. We are involved with cases which at any given time implicate our client's fourth, fifth, and sixth amendment rights. Certainly not every client we represent claims to be innocent. Sentencing advocacy, including the negotiating of plea agreements, is an important skill for students to learn in the context of criminal defense practice."