Advocacy Survey

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time
WED, FRI 10:30 - 11:37 am

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location
Final May 4, 2024

Description

You spent the first year of law school analyzing published cases. The emphasis of much of your reading was on the results of published cases and the legal principles each case teaches. Importantly, while trial court judges can publish written opinions on discreet issues, most of your previous reading focused on appellate court opinions. Every appellate court opinion begins with a narrative of the facts. The facts are critical in developing the legal opinions pronounced by the opinion. The way the facts are recited often allows the reader to begin developing a just result in the case simply by the way the facts are presented.

But what does the first year of law school teach you about developing facts? We certainly spend a great deal of time analyzing facts, but how do you produce them? How do facts become evidence? Why do some facts seem to matter more than other facts? At a time in our society when it is hard to find common ground on what constitutes an objective fact, how do current attitudes (and social media) affect our profession where so much of the law depends upon the facts?

And nestled somewhere between Evidence and Federal Courts perhaps our Course Catalog will one day have a class devoted entirely to Facts. Because no matter what type of law you practice, you’re going to have to deal with the facts of your case. You’re going to have to deal with the good facts, the bad facts, and the ambiguous facts. Whether you practice Admiralty Law or Wills and Estates, you must wrestle with disputed facts. And mostly importantly you, the lawyer, must find facts. Facts do not announce themselves, and rarely does the judge or jury understand the significance of any fact. Like latent fingerprints, we often see only remnants and traces of facts. These facts are never reviewed by an appellate court unless they are collected, preserved, interpreted, presented, and introduced as evidence. It is our job to find truth and extract justice for our clients by distilling the vapor of nuance from these latent facts.  

This class is a guide to that process.

This class has a mandatory evening skills component (Monday or Wednesday evening). Students must register for both the lecture (376M) and either Monday or Wednesday evening skills portion (176N) of the class. Please note, the evening Skills portion of the class will not begin until week 5 or 6 of the semester and will run for eight weeks. Advocacy Survey is designed for all law students. While focusing primarily on trial skills, the course will also cover topics such as transactional practice, motion practice and alternative dispute resolution. By combining theory through the lecture sessions with technique training in skills sessions, students are able to practice what they learn. Students get hands-on practice in areas such as opening and closing statements, the use and relevance of technology in litigation, transferable skills for a transactional practice, and the basic skills necessary to try a case. The skill sessions will end with the trial of a case. Students will examine a case file from pretrial motions, transactional, ADR, arbitration, voir dire, and trial.

This is a 4-credit series (1 credit pass/fail, 3 credits graded).

Prerequisite or Concurrent: Evidence.

Textbooks ( * denotes required )

Trying Cases to Win : In One Volume, Student Edition *
Stern, Herbert J., Saltzburg, Stephen A., Stern, Herbert, and Saltzburg, Stephen
West Academic
ISBN: 978-1-64242-992-3

Instructors

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