Advocacy and Professionalism Coursework

Effective advocacy is one of a lawyer’s most important skills. The trial advocacy program teaches fundamental trial skills – from opening statements to closing arguments – using a “learning by doing” approach.

In the trial advocacy program, students tackle real world challenges through experiential learning to gain the skills they need to succeed in today’s competitive environment – no matter what paths they choose to follow – non-profit, public sector, or firm practice. A dedicated faculty of seasoned trial practitioners provides students unparalleled opportunities to learn from a variety of experienced attorneys. These talented lawyers represent a combination of attorneys in private practice and public service, as well as sitting state court judges. Each faculty member brings distinctive day-to-day insights into the practice of law to share with students. 

Every academic year is filled with a variety of unique advocacy learning opportunities for our law students, including:

  • Participation in trial advocacy core courses;
  • Opportunities for participation in clinics and other learning experiences that apply principles to practice;
  • Guest lectures and demonstrations featuring leading practitioners in the field; and
  • One-on-one mentoring support vital for law students as they prepare for their legal careers.

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.

The College of Law offers a unique course entitled Advanced Trial Advocacy and Professional Responsibility in the spring semester, as part of the Anderson Center and the College of Law’s Jerome Mirza Trial Academy.  Consistent with the goals of the Center, the Mirza Trial Academy provides advanced training in trial advocacy while simultaneously addressing professional responsibility issues that arise in complex litigation matters. Kimball Anderson, one of the Center’s benefactors, serves as the director for this course.