Trial Advocacy Workshop

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Winter 2015 Course
3 classroom credits

Monday, January 5-Friday, January 23, 2015

Early drop deadline of September 5, 2014.

Please note: There will be a mandatory meeting in November 2014 (date and time TBD) for all students enrolled in the Winter 2015 Trial Advocacy Workshop.

Please note: It is highly recommended that students complete a course in Evidence prior to taking this course. Familiarity with the rules of evidence is assumed throughout the course. The Winter Trial Advocacy Workshop is an intensive course in trial analysis, skills, and techniques taught complete in three weeks. More detailed descriptions of the organization and content of the Workshop programs appear below. The course is graded Credit/Fail. Any questions pertaining to the Workshop should be direct to the TAW Coordinator, Amy E. Soto: asoto@law.harvard.edu.

Course days and hours are: Monday through Friday, 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Class will not be held on Monday, January 19, 2015, due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday).

The Winter Trial Advocacy Workshop will take place beginning Monday, January 5, 2015 to Friday, January 23, 2015. The course focuses on the task of the trial lawyer to create in the consciousness of the fact-finders the precise fact picture, which reflects the lawyer's version of the case. The workshop includes simulated exercises on all aspects of in-court trial practice including opening statements, development of witness testimony on direct and cross examination, use of illustrative aids and exhibits in evidence, impeachment, expert testimony and summations. An important feature of the workshop is the on-the-spot evaluation and critique by experienced trial lawyers and judges who teach as volunteers during the workshop. Student performances are also video-recorded and individually critiqued. Each student will take part in two full simulated trials, which are systematically critiqued by trial advisors and judges.

The Winter Trial Advocacy Workshop requires intensive study, preparation, and activity. The program is structured as follows:

  • 1. For the first week of the workshop, students will meet in classroom sessions (large groups of twenty-four and small groups of eight) for simulated trial advocacy exercises from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. Each student will be expected to perform each of the assigned exercises each day. These sessions will involve short role-playing assignments for students in various aspects of trial advocacy, evaluations of performances, and occasional demonstrations by members of the teaching team.
  • 2. Students will have opportunities, individually or in groups, for detailed review or critique of video-recordings of their own and each other’s performances. One or more members of the teaching team will be available at scheduled hours to participate in this review.
  • 3. Following each day’s classroom exercises, the students are invited to supper with the faculty, which consists of experienced volunteer judges and lawyers, and are expected to attend an evening lecture-demonstration from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. each evening.
  • 4. A similar schedule is followed for the first two days of the second week of the workshop. Wednesday of the second week is a trial preparation day. Simulated non-jury trials take place on the last two days of the week. Each student participates in one non-jury trial as a lawyer and in one as a witness.
  • 5. The first two days of the third week of the workshop follow the same classroom schedule as the first week. On Thursday and Friday of the third week of the workshop, participants conduct simulated jury trials in state and federal courthouses.

Text: Murray, Basic Trial Advocacy, plus multilithed materials and case files.

Prerequisite(s): For upper-level JD students there are not any prerequisites; although familiarity with the rules of evidence is assumed throughout the course. For LLM students, faculty permission is required.

Note: This course has an early drop deadline of September 5, 2014. The course may not be dropped after September 5, 2014, without the written permission of the instructor.

Note: Registration for the Winter Trial Advocacy Workshop will occur during Multi-Section Course Registration.

Subject Areas: Procedure & Practice .