Law 694: Trial Team and Advanced Trial Team
Trial Team is a graded experiential trial advocacy course conducted in the fall (2 hours) and spring (2 hours) semesters for a total of four credit hours. Enrollment is by audition. Auditions take place during the spring semester for the following academic year. Eligibility for the trial team requires the prerequisites or co-requisites of three College of Law courses: Trial Advocacy (694), Trial Advocacy Workshop (formerly Fundamentals of Trial Practice) (695) and Evidence (682). Those who accept invitations to the team register for the fall and spring sections of this class. These students will undergo rigorous training with a practitioner coach with periodic bonus critiques from College of Law faculty, Illinois alumni, and additional seasoned practicing attorney volunteers as competition weekends approach.
Trial team competitions teach students how to meet the practical challenges that lawyers typically face in a modern legal practice. In addition to polishing their basic advocacy skills, team members learn how to analyze and master a case file, navigate a courtroom environment, discipline hostile or aggressive witnesses, and turn the laws of evidence into allies. The team participates in eight interscholastic tournaments each academic year at both the national and regional level. Trial team members try at least one case during each semester of membership and, in doing so, they transfer knowledge gained in the classroom domain into firsthand practical experiences in the courtroom. Moreover, members have exceptional opportunities at trial advocacy tournaments to make valuable networking connections within the legal community with sitting judges, practicing attorneys, and peers from law schools across the country.
All returning students selected for Trial Team, who competed during the prior academic year, will be enrolled in Advanced Trial Team. Advanced Trial Team provides in-depth instruction to further hone, develop, and polish trial skills with a devoted team coach, as well as additional opportunities to learn from College of Law faculty, guest attorney and communications coaches. Advanced Trial Team students will take their skills to the next level, focusing in-depth on innovative direct and cross-examination techniques, expert witness examinations, and trial ethics.
Students selected for Trial Team or Advanced Trial Team who participate in the Chicago program will be enrolled in Chicago Program Trial Team, in lieu of Trial Team or Advanced Trial Team during the spring semester. Chicago Program Trial Team students will earn two credit hours in the spring, for a total of four credit hours during the academic year.
In addition to invitations to compete on the Advanced Trial Team, students who participated in Trial Team during the prior academic year may be invited to serve as coaches for the Trial Team students and will be enrolled in a Trial Team Practicum for a total of two credit hours (one per semester).
Evaluation: Both Trial Team and Advanced Trial Team will be graded. Grades will be based on performance on written and oral advocacy assignments, and course participation.
Sequence and Prerequisites: Trial Advocacy (Law 694), Trial Advocacy Workshop (formerly Fundamentals of Trial Practice) (Law 695), and Evidence (Law 682) are prerequisites or co-requisites.
Students who have previously completed the Federal Civil Rights Clinic (Law 693) and/or Moot Court (Law 697) may enroll in Advanced Trial Team with instructor permission.