Trial Advocacy Program

Passionate Principled Advocacy.
This is the standard to which FIU’s Law’s Trial Advocacy Program aspires. It aims to educate. It seeks to inspire. It intends to fulfill its promise to bring forth powerful storytellers, courageous advocates and the professional and community leaders of tomorrow. The program instills the core values of super-competence, impeccable integrity, a tireless work ethic, and an understanding not only of the legal mechanics but the human dynamics involved in trying a lawsuit. The program accomplishes this first by intense, classroom instruction where it focuses on fact analysis. Then, in the courtroom, the program hones the art of advocacy by doing, and by doing, and by doing – perfectly – because only perfect practice makes perfect. The program insists that its students are as ethical as they are effective. Beyond that, the program strives to do its part to tender to America the next generation of superb trial lawyers.

Trial Advocacy Course
Trial Practice is an intensive course of study that teaches the legal mechanics and human dynamics of trying a lawsuit. The class incorporates a lecture and performance component. Trial skills taught include developing a case theme and theory, presenting a persuasive opening statement and closing argument, conducting direct and cross examination, introducing exhibits and making objections. Student performances are videotaped weekly and made readily available for review and critique. Instead of a written final exam, each student participates in a mock jury trial before a sitting judge and experienced trial lawyers.

Trial Team
The Trial Team is composed of second- and third-year law students who are chosen based on their performance at a tryout. The team competes in the White Collar Crime Invitational, held in Washington, DC as well as competitions throughout Florida.

Trial Team Members
Jennise Acosta
Christa Adkins
J.P. Bado
Tiffany Blackmon
Samuel Cili
Rangel Cruz
Hazal Ebinc
Chris Fleites
Rodrigo Flores
George Florez
Jonathan Hoffman
Daniel Horton
Gilbert Lacayo
Jeffery Mackowski
Ryan Maguire
Robert Rodriguez
Kimberly Rogers
Andrew Sholtes
Lisa-Gaye Smith
Marco Specoli
Kerry Tibor
Marina Veiga
Yanelis Zamora

To Tryout: Interested students will receive a case file ahead of time, and will prepare portions of a trial to perform in front of Professors and a mock jury. The next tryout will be May, 2015. Prior to tryouts, an email about rules and how to obtain materials will sent.

Requirements: Students who have completed their first year and are in good academic standing  (not on academic probation) are eligible to tryout. There is no class requirement for trying out; while Trial Advocacy is useful, it is not mandatory.

Contact Information

H.T. Smith, Director – Trial Advocacy Program
305.348.7189
smithht@fiu.edu

H. Scott Fingerhut, Assistant Director – Trial Advocacy Program and Honors College Fellow
305.348.3182