Cynthia Alkon

Cynthia Alkon

Cynthia Alkon joined the faculty at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in 2010. She was an assistant professor of law at the Appalachian School of Law from 2006-2010. Prior to joining academia, Professor Alkon was a criminal defense lawyer and worked in rule of law development in Eastern Europe and Central Asia focusing on criminal justice reform issues.  Professor Alkon worked for nearly seven years as a deputy public defender in Los Angeles County.  Professor Alkon then joined the American Bar Association Central and East European Law Initiative working as a Rule of Law Liaison in Belarus for two years (1998-2000). After Belarus Professor Alkon was the head of the legal department for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Albania. From 2002-2006 Professor Alkon was the Head of the Rule of Law Unit for the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR). In that position Professor Alkon supervised the OSCE/ODIHR Rule of Law Unit’s criminal justice reform assistance projects in Central Asia, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe.   

Professor Alkon’s scholarship focuses on criminal dispute resolution, comparative criminal procedure and rule of law reform. Professor Alkon looks critically at current rule of law reform programs and is particularly interested in examining how different dispute resolution processes in criminal cases may contribute to rule of law development in countries in transition. Professor Alkon is a contributor to, a member of the Law Professor Blogs Network.

Contact Cynthia Alkon


Articles and Video:

Restorative Justice to Handle Sexual Assault Cases at Universities? (09/18/15)
I think there can be great advantages to using restorative justice processes in a variety of settings. My concern is that we have seen that universities don’t have a great track record in terms of dealing with sexual assaults on campus (in fairness, few institutions in our society do have a great track record).

Disgraceful Example of Hard Bargaining in Plea Bargaining (03/31/15)
Yesterday the AP reported that prosecutors in Nashville, Tennessee “made sterilization of women part of plea negotiations at least four times in the past five years.” The cases all seemed to involve mistreatment or neglect of children and some involved seriously mentally ill defendants.

Blue Bloods and Restorative Justice (03/21/15)
As we know, it is rare that any form of dispute resolution makes it onto network television in prime time. Friday night’s episode of Blue Bloods—the New York police drama starring Tom Selleck—featured a story line about restorative justice. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good example. In the story, a young woman whose family was killed when she was a child got a letter from the convicted killer.

Teaching in a World of Racism Without Racists? (01/23/15)
As the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend comes to an end, and as a new semester is beginning, I am thinking about how we talk about race, and how we handle race, both in the classroom and in the larger society. Clearly the events in Ferguson last year, the unfortunately not uncommon killing of a young black man by a police officer coupled with the all too common failure to criminally prosecute the police officer, is just one aspect of the larger issues in our society.

Just Don’t Ask and Get Good Karma??!! (10/13/14)
As many are probably aware, Microsoft’s CEO recently said that women who don’t ask for raises will enjoy “good karma.” So, his negotiation advice seems to boil down to just don’t ask and you count on the universe rewarding you in this life (or the next).

“Tell her Capt. Johnson is sorry and he apologizes.” (08/15/14)
Five days ago, an unarmed eighteen year old, Michael Brown, was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. As is all too commonly the situation, Mr. Brown was African American and the police officer who did the shooting (as with most of the police in Ferguson) was white. An investigation is on-going, but the reports of what happened are disturbing enough that there have been protests since Mr. Brown’s death.

An Unfortunate Proposal to Encourage Plea Bargaining Early and Often (11/04/13)
The UK Ministry of Justice is proposing to save £220 million (approximately $351 million) by paying lawyers so that they will receive more money if they plead their clients guilty early in their criminal case, rather than waiting longer or going to trial.

Was OJ Simpson’s Lawyer Ineffective? (05/17/13)
OJ Simpson will be back in court this week in Las Vegas bringing an appeal from his 2008 armed robbery and kidnapping conviction in 2008. He has apparently filed, through his new lawyer, a 94-page petition for a new trial—which reportedly includes 19 specific issues that the court has agreed to hear “mostly claiming that lawyer Yale Galanter provided such poor representation that Simpson deserves a new trial.”

The Universal Apology (09/14/12)
One of the recurring questions in cross cultural negotiation is whether there are certain approaches that transcend cultures and can be used universally. The research on reciprocity, for example, indicates that it is universally understood and used. Apology is another one. The rituals surrounding apology may differ, but it seems we all understand its importance and value.

Innocents Pleading Guilty (07/17/12)
In 1989, Ada JoAnn Taylor was accused of murder and presented with stark options. If she pleaded guilty, she would be rewarded with a sentence of ten to forty years in prison. If, however, she proceeded to trial and was convicted, she would likely spend the rest of her life behind bars. Over a thousand miles away in Florida and more than twenty years later, a college student was accused of cheating and presented with her own incentives to admit wrongdoing and save the university the time and expense of proceeding before a disciplinary review board. Both women decided the incentives were enticing and pleaded guilty.

A Labor Day Lesson (09/12/11)
When teaching negotiation, I often talk about negotiating in a way that is consistent with your underlying values. However, what to do when your values stress obedience and not questioning authority and management is not responsive to an interest based approach?