Trial Advocacy Workshop
This lawyering skills course gives students an orientation to and constant practice in most basic pretrial and trial advocacy skills areas. Topics include: taking and defending depositions, motion practice, trial evidence, including admission of trial exhibits in evidence and use of prior witness statements to refresh and impeach a witness, jury selection and voire dire, opening statements, examination of witnesses (direct and cross-examination), and closing arguments. Students will try a full jury case through to verdict with use of jurors and before a real judge in the Superior Court in Palo Alto at the end of the course. Students will also have a chance to watch the jurors deliberate and talk with them after their verdict. The course takes place during eight weeks of the Autumn Quarter with two classes (one lecture and one workshop) per week on most weeks from 4:15-9:00 (these can occur on either M, T, W, or Th), plus one Saturday workshop and the final weekend of jury trials, in late November. The format for each topic begins with a lecture/discussion featuring video vignettes of various techniques and a live demonstration by an expert trial lawyer. Following the discussion portion of each topic are small group sessions during which each student practices the skills involved. Constructive feedback is given after each exercise by two of our faculty of very experienced Bay Area litigators and judges. Most exercises are also videotaped for further one-on-one critique by another faculty member. The course ends with full jury trials. The central philosophy of the workshop is that skills are best acquired in an experiential manner by seeing and doing. Frequent short, well-defined exercises followed by immediate constructive feedback in a non-competitive, non-threatening atmosphere provide the core of the program.