John MacDonald

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John MacDonaldAdjunct Professor of LawAttorney at Law

Contact Information

John MacDonald is a trial attorney specializing in criminal defense, immigration law, and post-conviction relief. He is the former President of the Rhode Island Assocaition of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the author of a book entitled "Rhode Island Criminal Defense: A Practice Manual".

Courses Taught

LAW.750Criminal Litigation: Drafting & Advocacy

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Course Description

While less than one percent of all criminal cases go to trial, every criminal case involves a necessary knowledge of criminal pleadings and motions. This course will focus on pleadings, motions and related documents in all stages of a criminal case – from the arraignment through pre-trial, trial and post-conviction proceedings. Students will learn how to review, draft and argue criminal pleadings and motions from both the prosecution and defense perspective. The course is designed for prospective criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors, appellate attorneys, and judicial law clerks in state and federal courts. Completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, Criminal Procedure: Adjudication or Criminal Procedure: Investigation, is considered helpful.

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Course Credits


Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law


LAW.682 – Criminal Procedure: Adjudication LAW.627 – Criminal Procedure: Investigation

Faculty Associated

John GrassoJohn MacDonald
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Course Types

We have classified RWU Law classes under the following headers. One of the following course types will be attached to each course which will allow students to narrow down their search while looking for classes.

Core Course

Students in the first and second year are required to take classes covering the following aspects of the law—contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility.  Along with these aspects, the core curriculum will develop legal reasoning skills.


After finishing the core curriculum the remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through upper level elective courses.  Students can choose courses that peak their interests or courses that go along with the track they are following.


Seminars are classes where teachers and small groups of students focus on a specific topic and the students complete a substantial research paper.


Inhouse Clinics and Clinical Externships legal education is law school training in which students participate in client representation under the supervision of a practicing attorney or law professor.  RWU Law's Clinical Programs offer unique and effective learning opportunities and the opportunity for practical experience while still in law school.