FIU Law Trial Advocacy Program Director and Assistant Director, Professors H.T. SMITH  and H. SCOTT FINGERHUT, recently presented CLE@FIU, its third in a series of low-cost, hands-on, two-day trial advocacy skills seminars – this one focusing on closing argument.

Special guest faculty member, preeminent trial lawyer Alex Alvarez, addresses the attendees at CLE@FIU.

A feature of the program was our Day 2 guest faculty — some of the finest and most successful trial lawyers in Miami, and the country — ROY BLACKALEX ALVAREZDORE LOUISJACK McLUSKEYJOHN SELIGMAN, and TODD MICHAELS.

These stellar advocates were paired alongside our Trial Advocacy Program adjunct faculty – star trial lawyers and judges in their own right — JUDGE MIGUEL de la O, JUDGE KEVIN EMAS, ARI S. GOLDBERG, ANTHONY C. HEVIA, ABE LAESER, and ABBE RIFKIN.

FIU College of Law Dean Antony Page welcomes the enthusiastic attendees to CLE@FIU.

To a large audience of alumni and non-alumni alike, including private attorneys, prosecutors, public defenders, and legal aid lawyers — from the tri-county area and beyond, as far away as North and South Carolina — CLE@FIU was presented over two days – Friday, December 14, 2018, and Saturday, December 15, 2018.

On Friday afternoon, Professor Fingerhut lectured on “Getting to Close:  How to Captivate Juror Attention with Case Theory and Theme,” followed by Professor Smith, who lectured on “Closing Argument:  Selling the Story.”

Each attendee was given the opportunity to select a “track” – civil or criminal – as well as their “client” based on two case files Professors Smith and Fingerhut authored for the event.

Overnight, the attendees prepared their closings based on the Friday lectures.

And then on Saturday morning, College of Law Dean Antony Page welcomed the attendees, before the six break-out groups began – with no more than five attendees in each — performing closing argument, with our expert faculty paired – guest and adjunct, together – to provide critique.

The CLE@FIU Closing Argument faculty.  Pictured from left to right are: Roy Black, John Seligman, Alex Alvarez, Professor H. Scott Fingerhut, Anthony C. Hevia, Todd Michaels, Abbe Rifkin, Jack McLuskey, Ari S. Goldberg, Judge Miguel de la O, Dore Louis, Abe Laeser, Judge Kevin Emas, and Professor H.T. Smith.

“The Trial Advocacy Program at FIU Law intends to continue to provide opportunities for trial lawyers to practice important trial skills while being supervised by seasoned trial lawyers,” Professor Smith said.  “As we teach our students,” he emphasized, “either you are getting better or you are getting beat.”

Professors Smith and Fingerhut created CLE@FIU to feature expert instruction, small classroom performance, and world class critique, all in the comfortable – and, for our alumni, familiar — environment of the College of Law, so that attendees may most effectively workshop their assignment.

Present as well to coordinate all the workings of the seminar were Trial Team members – and Trial Advocacy Program ambassadors – PAMELA AGUDELO, SAHARA FONSECA, JULIO MONTESINO, JASON MORIN, Trial Team president ANNASOFIA A. ROIG, and MICHAEL ROJAS.  Their personal warmth and professional assistance were vital to the positive experience had by all and our event’s success.

For more information about the next CLE@FIU or any of the many courses, student activities, and opportunities the FIU Law Trial Advocacy Program has to offer, call 305-348-8095 or visit law.fiu.edu/trial-advocacy.