Trial Advocacy and Law 695: Fundamentals of Trial Practice
In this combined instructional unit consisting of Trial Advocacy (Law 694 – two graded credit hours) and Fundamentals of Trial Practice (Law 695 – three pass/fail credit hours), 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 trials and will address 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 technology.
This combination 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, as well as guest instructors and panelists selected from leading practitioners in the field. 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.
Sequence and Prerequisites: Evidence (Law 682) is a prerequisite or may be taken concurrently with the fall Trial Advocacy courses (Law 694 and Law 695). The fall semester courses in Trial Advocacy (Law 694) and the Fundamentals of Trial Practice (Law 695) are prerequisites to the spring semester options Advanced Trial Advocacy – Criminal Trial Section (Law 694) and Advanced Trial Advocacy – Civil Trial Section (Law 694).
Evaluation: Trial Advocacy (Law 694 – two graded credit hours) – Take-Home Final Examination
Fundamentals of Trial Advocacy (Law 695 – three pass/fail credit hours) – A determination of passing or failing performance will be based on attendance and participation in weekly small group exercises and discussions.