Law 694:  Trial Advocacy

In this course, students develop the skills needed for success as trial lawyers in a “learning by doing” environment. Students will tackle real world challenges through experiential learning to gain the skills they need to succeed in today’s competitive legal environment – no matter what paths they choose to follow – non-profit, public sector, or firm practice. The course will feature both civil and criminal cases and will highlight the trial process from start to finish, focusing on the fundamental skills of direct and cross-examination, presentation of evidence at trial, evidentiary objections and responses, expert testimony, jury selection, opening statements and closing arguments, and the use of courtroom and other litigation technology.

 This course meets twice a week and allows students to engage with both internal and external instructors, giving them unparalleled opportunities to learn from a variety of experienced attorneys. Customarily, each week a trial advocacy topic will be introduced in a large group session and demonstrated by College of Law faculty. A second small group session will follow the next week and consist of a hands-on 2.5-hour practical exercise workshop limited to 12 participants in each small group. This scheduling methodology allows ample time for students to process and master each topic before being called on to practice it in their small group meetings.

While the primary focus of the Trial Advocacy curriculum is to prepare students for a career in litigation, the program also conveys significant benefits to students interested in a transactional or other non-litigation practice. Through the Trial Advocacy curriculum, students will gain exposure to the key elements of a legal career in any field, including ethics and professional responsibility, analytical and critical thinking skills, communication and presentation skills, and norms for interaction with clients and other stakeholders.

 Prerequisite/Corequisite Course: Evidence (Law 682) must have already been taken (prerequisite) or can be taken at the same time (corequisite).

Evaluation:  This is a four-hour graded course.  Grades will be based on written assignments, in-class courtroom performance exercises, participation, and performance in the final mock trial.  While students will try their cases with a partner, each student will be graded individually.  Students will have an opportunity to select their partners for their final trials.

Course Classification:  Experiential

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