This class was tough.
Taking Criminal Law with Professor Suk at Harvard Law School radicalized the way I thought about the US criminal justice system. The course opened by eyes to systemic, structural injustices that plague our courtrooms and prison. Professor Suk took the Socratic Method to a whole new level, challenging students to push their mental limits and spontaneously analyze complicated hypothetical scenarios that exploited the gray areas of the law.
The highlight of the course is unequivocally the thorough historical, analytical, and legal review of rape law (e.g., Title IX) in the United States. On-campus rape in the United State is an epidemic that adversely (and sometime permanently) affects the lives of victims and falsely-accused defendants alike. I learned that the current federal law, as well as campus-specific applications of that law, often fail to concurrently protect the rights of victims and those accused of the heinous crime. Successfully rectifying US rape law demand a thorough understanding of its historical evolution, the spectrum of physical, emotional, and psychological effects on victims and the accused, and modern interpretations of federal statutes.
Hours per week:
Advice for students:
First, doing the required readings is not only a necessity but also only one small piece of the puzzle (with respect to succeeding in the class). Success in Professor Suk's Criminal Law class requires a thorough understanding of the material, as well as the analytical muscle to apply the key learnings from the readings to a diverse range of real-world scenarios. And like all strong muscles, regular exercise is critical. Second, if you don't understand something or if you encounter legal jargon with which you are unfamiliar, look it up! You're responsible for understanding the meaning and implications of anything contained in the readings.This piece of advice applies to almost any course. As you read, write down the words or ideas with which you're unfamiliar. After completing the reading, research those words or ideas -- and then try to make sense of them within the context of the assignment!