The Trial Advocacy Program curently offers three courses to lift students – Trial Lawyers-in-Residence — on their way to becoming the next generation of great trial lawyers.
In Trial Advocacy, students learn the legal mechanics and human dynamics associated with trying cases to juries – in essence, an understanding of the art of legal storytelling. Proceeding each week, first in group lecture, and then in small, video-recorded practice sections taught by experienced judges and trial lawyers, the course culminates in Final Trials, where our students try a full case in a real courthouse with real judges presiding. All told, in this, our introductory course, the advocacy skills tested include cases analysis, formulating case theory and theme, direct, cross, and redirect examinations, opening statement, closing argument, laying evidentiary foundations in order to introduce and publish exhibits, and making and responding to objections. Trial Advocacy is taught by Professor H. Scott Fingerhut.
Pretrial Practice is an intensive course designed to teach students the fundamentals of civil and criminal pretrial practice, focusing on the smart, effective, and creative preparation of cases for successful resolution, including trial. The course is structured to provide a bridge to the world of real practice from the realm of legal theory – in essence, to give good counsel. Skills covered include case planning and formal and informal fact investigation, strategic problem solving, legal analysis, and communicating effectively, all while developing case theory and theme, conducting client and witness interviews, developing effective pleading strategies, and then seeing civil and criminal cases all the way through, covering pretrial custody determinations, discovery, including taking and defending depositions, pretrial motions, and sentencing and other case settlement. Pretrial Practice is taught by Professor H. Scott Fingerhut.
Advanced Trial Advocacy
Advanced Trial Advocacy presents students with the opportunity, in a small classroom setting, to enhance the litigation skill sets they learned in Trial Advocacy, our introductory course, by focusing on advanced elements, concepts, and strategies in presenting cases to a jury. In Advanced Trial Advocacy, students are provided with a better understanding of the basics learned in Trial Advocacy and introduces them to jury selection, use of courtroom technology, the importance of social media, the presentation of scientific evidence, psychodrama, and the preparation and examination of expert witnesses. Like Trial Advocacy, Advanced Trial Advocacy culminates in Final Trials in a real courthouse, presided over by real judges. Advanced Trial Advocacy is taught by the Director of the Trial Advocacy Program, Professor H.T. Smith.