Section Description Provided by Instructor
This introductory course is designed to familiarize the student with the trial process and provide an opportunity to engage in the critical thinking and oral advocacy that make successful litigators. We will approach trial work from the perspective of the criminal defense attorney, but those planning careers as civil litigators or prosecutors will benefit equally, as we will be focused on universal aspects of general trial practice. The skills learned in class will be applicable and beneficial in any courtroom setting. Students will work through a mock fact pattern created from an actual murder trial and will be required to conduct all phases of the trial in class. Topics covered will include client interviewing, brainstorming the case, voir dire, opening statements, direct examination, cross examination and summation. We will spend time discussing a range of issues and ideas including: methods of building client trust and developing a winning bedside manner; learning to listen; developing theories and themes; selecting an "educated" jury; becoming effective storytellers; the fundamentals of direct and cross examination; and structuring a compelling closing argument. Readings are listed in the syllabus and are drawn from leading thinkers and practitioners. Noted trial lawyers will serve as guest lecturers and will meet with the class to discuss relevant trial topics. Class size is limited to 12 students.
Grades will be based upon written work, class participation and performance throughout the semester.