Jeffrey  Pokorak

Professor of Law

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Bar Admittance

  • MA
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • FL (inactive)
  • TX (inactive)


Current: Vice Provost Pokorak's Responsibilities focus on faculty and curricular development throughout the University. Directly responsible for the University's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the Institutional Review Board, Center for Teaching and Scholarly Excellence, Moakley Archives and Sawyer Library (supporting all non-law undergraduate and graduate programs). Work closely with the Provost, the Vice Provost for Student Success and the Associate Provost for Institutional Research and Assessment to develop appropriate metrics for evaluation and reporting. Specific efforts include guiding the development of several of the University's firsts including: shared core curriculum, the University Faculty Handbook, program review process, periodic (post-tenure) review and tenure denial appeals process. Also work extensively on compliance management, incident support, community college articulations and STEM student pipelines.

Previous: After graduating from Northeastern University School of Law, Prof. Pokorak worked as an assistant public defender in Miami, Florida, clerked for Federal District Court Judge Joe Eaton, and later acted as an assistant public counsel in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Leaving trial work, Prof. Pokorak went to Texas in 1989 to act as Senior Staff Attorney at the Texas Resource Center, a federally funded organization dedicated to the representation of indigents on death row in their post-conviction appeals. In 1993, Prof. Pokorak joined the faculty at St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas. In 2000, Jeff had the pleasure of visiting at the University of New Mexico, School of Law where he taught evidence and trial practice.

In 2001 he left Texas to join the faculty at Suffolk University Law School. Professor Pokorak is also actively involved in rule of law endeavors. He has practiced extensively in the United States Supreme Court, trained trial and appellate attorneys; presented at numerous criminal law and legal education conferences; moderated victim forums in the death penalty context; worked on several access to justice cases; and testified before state legislatures. Jeff publishes in the area of race and prosecutorial discretion, victims' access to equal justice in the criminal law system, curriculum innovation and is currently conducting research in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Professional Activities

Member, Board of Directors for the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) 2006-present. Co-Chair, Scholarship Committee of the Association of American Law Schools, Clinical Legal Education Section (with Michele Goodman, University Of Baltimore Law) 2004-2013. Member and Treasurer, Board of Directors, Texas Defenders Services, a privately funded and incorporated 301(c) non-profit organization that provides legal services to death sentenced inmates and training and assistance to attorneys representing those charged with capital crimes 2001-2011. Invited Presenter, United States Department of Justice, National Symposium on Indigent Defense: Concurrent Workshop, Representation, Education, and Modeling: Multidisciplinary Law School Clinics, Invited Presenter, American Bar Association's Bricks and Bytes Conference, Clinical Education Space, March 11 and 12, 2010. Presentation: Rights and Institutions, Maintaining an Assault on the Rule of Law Obama Phenomena: Facets of a Historic Campaign at University of Denver, Sturm College of Law in Denver, CO on August 29, 2008. Video available, Panel 2. Invited Participant, Road Map to Justice roundtable and planning meeting, Boston, MA, October 17, 2008. Plenary co-presenter, session for new law faculty at LatCrit Conference in Miami Florida, October, 2007. Co-presented concurrent session titled, Suddenly Seniors. Other Teaching: Lund University, Lund, Sweden: Suffolk Law School Summer Program in International Law, 2009; International Criminal Law. Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE), Budapest, Hungary: Suffolk Law School LL.M. in U.S. and Global Business Law, 2007; International Economic Crimes. University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria: St. Mary s School of Law Institute on World Legal Problems, 1993, 1994, 1997; International Criminal Activity.



Stop Thinking and Start Doing: Three-Year Accelerator-To-Practice Program as a Market-Based Solution for Legal Education, 43 WASH. U. J.L. & POL'Y 59 (2013) (with Ilene Seidman and Gerard Slater)

Judicial Responses to Sexual Assault, Chapter 7 in VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN (APA Press, 2010) (with Ilene Seidman)

Rape Victims and Prosecutors: The Inevitable Ethical Conflict of De Facto Client/Attorney Relationships, 48 S. TEX. L. REV. 695 (2007)

Rape As a Badge of Slavery: The Legal History of, and Remedies for, Prosecutorial Race-of-Victim Charging Disparities, 7 NEV. L.J. 1 (2006)

Unintended Consequences of the Scientific Evidence Requirement, 80 INDIANA L.J. 75 (2005)

Death Qualification and True Bifurcation: Building on the Massachusetts Governor's Council's Work, 80 INDIANA L.J. 131 (2005) (with Sam Kamin)

Dead Man Talking: Competing Narratives and Effective Representation in Capital Cases, 30 ST. MARY'S L.J. 2 (1999)

Edwards v. United States: The Dark Side of Behaviorism, 10 FED. SENT'G. REP. 4 (1998)
Probing the Prosecutor's Perspective: Race of the Discretionary Actors, 83 CORNELL L. REV. 6 (1998)

"Death Stands Condemned:" Justice Brennan and the Death Penalty, 27 CAL. W.L. REV. 239 (1991)


Significant Cases

  • Montgomery v. Louisiana, U.S. , No. 14-280 (pending); co-counsel on behalf of Petitioner Henry Montgomery arguing that the constitutional rule banning mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles should be applied retroactively.
  • Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. , 132 S.Ct. 2455 (2012) (Striking down mandatory sentences of life without parole sentences for juveniles convicted of homicide); co-author of brief on behalf of amicus Juvenile Law Center.
  • KG Urban v. Patrick 693 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2012); co-author of brief on behalf of amicus Suffolk University Law School s Indian law and Indigenous People's Clinic supporting the Commonwealth of Massachusetts based on federal Indian law principles, 2012.
  • United States v. Omar Ahmed Khadr (Military Commission, Guantanamo, Cuba on question of youth and childhood soldier status); co-author of brief on behalf of amicus Juvenile Law Center, 2007.
  • Abdul-Kabir v. Quarterman, 530 U.S. 233 (2007); co-author of brief of amici Child Welfare League of America, Juvenile Law Center and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers regarding the Texas death penalty system.
  • Arianna S., et al. v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, et al., (SJ-2004-0282); amicus brief on behalf of sixteen legal professional and advocacy organizations in support of improved indigent defense services in Massachusetts.


  • BA, State University of New York
  • JD, Northeastern University
Portrait of Jeff Pokorak.

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Courses Taught

  • Clinical Program
  • Evidence/Trial Practice
  • Criminal Law
  • Capital Punishment Law