Trial Advocacy Competition Course, LAW 863
(2 credit hours)
The course is designed to promote professionalism in the litigation arena in both the preparation and trying of cases. A tryout competition is held each Fall to select a team of class members that will be together for the entire year. The team will then meet throughout the Fall semester, although credit will not be allocated until the end of the Spring semester. The course consists of a preparation component as well as mock trial competition components. The preparation consists of approximately sixteen supervised weekend classes per semester. The competition aspect consists of a one day cross-town competition in the Fall, and a three day regional competition in the Spring. During these mandatory competitions, each class member will argue their case against students from law schools throughout the country. The ultimate goal of the course is to foster professionalism among participants, as well as promote excellence in trial advocacy.
The American Association for Justice is responsible for organizing the Spring trial competition. Each year, the AAJ drafts a fictional legal case, complete with witness depositions, exhibits, and jury instructions. Using the Federal Rules of Evidence and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, teams develop arguments and create their own case theory based on the assigned case. In competition, students from one member school represent one side and compete against students from another school who represent the opposing side. Teams represent both plaintiff and defendant in successive rounds. Scoring of teams is not won or lost on the merits of the case, but on how well the student participants articulate their arguments and develop their case theory. The competitions will be judged by actual sitting judges as well as lawyers from the community who volunteer their time to support these competitions.
The competition class will be open to all second, third, and fourth year law students. Up to eight students will be selected to enroll in the course. In order to be selected, students must analyze a hypothetical case and give an opening statement or closing argument in front of a panel of attorneys and former trial team members. The selected students are extended offers to join the team, which is supervised and taught by Robert Yallech and Bradley Barmen, attorneys from the law firm of Reminger & Reminger. The supervising attorneys will be partners and associates of the firm who have extensive trial experience as well as prior experience supervising students in trial competitions.
The Spring semester consists of intense trial advocacy training occurring in January through March. The students will put in significantly more time than they would in a normal two credit course but will develop an invaluable skill set as trial advocates. The course will prepare the eight students to compete in the National Trial Advocacy Competition sponsored by the AAJ.