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Fall 2023 Course

Trial Advocacy Workshop

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 August 18, 2023

Please note: There will be a mandatory meeting on April 20th from 12:15pm-1:15pm for all students enrolled in the Fall 2023 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 Sullivan: and to Kekely Dansouh:

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). If you have concerns regarding the conflicts policy and your schedule, please contact Professor Ronald Sullivan and Kekely Dansouh:

The Fall Trial Advocacy Workshop will take place beginning Tuesday, September 5, 2023, to Friday, September 22, 2023. 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, 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. During the three-week 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, students will have the opportunity to meet with the teaching faculty, which consists of experienced judges and lawyers, and will meet with select special guest speakers 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: Murray, Basic Trial Advocacy (required), plus multilithed materials and case files.