Trial Advocacy Courses

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Trial Advocacy, LAW 663/61

(3 credit hours)

We are offering Trial Advocacy in a revised format for the Fall Semester 2007.  This will be the only full term trial advocacy course offered in 2007-08.  We will, however, continue to offer Trial Advocacy in the summer, July 15-28, as a short course. 

Professor David Barnhizer will coordinate the Fall 2007 course with the participation of Dean Geoffrey Mearns.  We anticipate the course will also involve as many as three experienced trial advocates as Adjunct Professors who will play primary roles in teaching in the smaller breakout sections involving student performance and critique.

We will accept a maximum of 30 students for the course, which will consist of a combination of lectures and discussions on key aspects of trial advocacy, along with the extensive use of two or three small “breakout” sections of approximately ten students each.  The small sections are where students will have the opportunity to perform the primary skills of trial advocacy.  These small sections combine explanation and faculty demonstration of the skills and strategies of trial advocacy with student performances in areas of jury selection, opening statements and closing arguments, direct and cross-examination, expert witnesses, and preparation and use of exhibits at trial.  At the conclusion of the semester small teams of students will conduct full day trials.

Trial Advocacy is designed to enhance students’ understanding of the trial process by achieving the following goals.

  • Teaching students the techniques, functions, and limits of the basic skills of the advocate;
  • Allowing students to become comfortable operating under pressure;
  • Encouraging students to develop their own persona consistent with individual skills, personality, and communications approaches;
  • Teaching students the importance of a thematic approach to trial advocacy;
  • Helping students understand how to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a case and to create a strategy for trial;
  • Allowing students to understand the relationship between evidence, substantive and procedural doctrine, and how these come together at trial;

Trial Advocacy, Short Course,

LAW 663/490, Summer Intersession

(3 credit hours)

The Intersession Trial Advocacy course provides the opportunity to learn about trial practice under the tutelage of some of Cleveland’s finest trial attorneys. For two weeks students will completely immerse themselves in the study of trial techniques and will work with over 60 of the area’s outstanding litigators. This is a demanding, but very rewarding course. Students attend a daily lecture/demonstration of trial skills from jury selection to closing argument. They also participate in simulations and their performances are critiqued by practising attorneys. The course is capped by a simulated trial in a Justice Center courtroom in front of an actual judge.

The course takes place the two weeks following the summer school session: the initial class meeting is on a Sunday afternoon, the class meets from approximately 4-9 p.m. during the week for two weeks; the final trials will take place the following Saturday.