Trial Advocacy Workshop

Trial Advocacy Workshop

Professor Ronald Sullivan
Fall 2019 course
3 classroom credits

Students who enroll in this offering may count the credits towards the JD experiential learning requirement.

Prerequisites: For JD students there are no formal prerequisites, although familiarity with the rules of evidence is assumed throughout the course. For LLM students, permission of the instructor is required.

Exam Type: No Exam

Early drop deadline of Friday, August 16, 2019
Please note: There will be a mandatory meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in Austin 100 at 12:00 p.m. for all students enrolled in the Fall 2019 Trial Advocacy Workshop.
The Fall Trial Advocacy Workshop (TAW) 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 program appear below. The Workshop is a required component of ITA: Prosecution Perspectives, and Criminal Justice Institute: Defense Theory and Practice. The course is graded Credit/Fail. Any questions pertaining to the Workshop should be directed to Professor Ronald S. Sullivan Jr.: and to Carol M. Flores:

Course days and hours: Monday through Friday, 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Students are allowed four hours (maximum) of class conflicts per week (HLS courses only). Students must be available for trials from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on 9/11, 9/12, 9/13, 9/18, 9/19 and 9/20. If you have concerns regarding the conflicts policy and your schedule, please contact Professor Ronald S. Sullivan and Carol M. Flores:

The Fall Trial Advocacy Workshop will take place beginning Tuesday, September 3, 2019 to Friday, September 20, 2019 (there is no class on Monday, September 2, 2019 due to the Labor Day holiday). 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.

The Fall 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 and small groups) 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 judges and lawyers, and are required to attend an evening lecture-demonstration from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. each evening.
  4. Students will participate in two full trials as members of a team of students trying the case. Trial time will include two to four hours of pretrial conferences and five to eight hours of trial performance and critique for each trial. Students will also be expected to serve as witnesses in two additional trials. 

Texts: Mauet, Trial Techniques (required), plus multilithed materials and case files. Murray, Basic Trial Advocacy (optional)

Note: For upper-level JD students, this course will be included in the Multi-Section registration round.

Subject Areas: Procedure & Practice