Law 694:  Advanced Criminal Trial Advocacy

Students taking this course will engage with both internal and external instructors to learn how to develop a criminal case through trial, including all pretrial stages. This course will cover pretrial case development and practice, including identification of witnesses, the drafting of charging instruments, motions addressing bail and discovery, other aspects of pretrial motion practice, the final pretrial conference, and preparation of jury instructions.  This course culminates in a half-day trial over which a sitting or retired judge or other distinguished legal practitioner presides. All trials will feature volunteer jurors from the University of Illinois community.  

Advanced Trial Advocacy is a fully integrated experience.  While this course teaches students how to use a specialized set of practical trial strategies and tactics, it also enables them to envision how a practicing attorney applies all that is taught in law school throughout the trial process.  In order to effectively represent clients at trial, students will draw not only on their trial toolkit, but also on their knowledge of substantive law, criminal procedure, evidence, ethics, and legal research and writing.  Beyond teaching students all aspects of the trial process, the goal of this course is for students to see the comprehensive nature of legal practice and how the body of knowledge acquired in law school informs the day-to-day responsibilities of trial lawyers.

College of Law students leave this class with the tools, skills and knowledge, which make them practice ready. Students will have the opportunity to develop their cases with guidance and support from College of Law faculty, as well as guest instructors and panelists.  College of Law faculty members supervise all phases of the student attorneys’ pretrial work.  Trial skills are best learned from experienced trial lawyers.  All faculty come to the program with extensive criminal trial experience.  In addition to the College of Law faculty, alumni and leading practitioners in the field will assist with courtroom training and guest lectures.

Sequence and Prerequisites: Trial Advocacy (Law 694), Trial Advocacy Workshop (Law 695), and Evidence (Law 682) are prerequisites.

Evaluation: This is a three-credit graded course. Grades will be based on written assignments, in-class courtroom performance exercises, and participation. While students will try their cases with a partner or team, each student will be graded individually. Students will have an opportunity to meet their classmates during the first class meeting before partners or teams are selected.   

Course Classification:  Experiential

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