LAW-2363 Trial Advocacy: Criminal

Prof. David Christopher Dearborn,

3 credits day; 3 credits evening.


The guiding principle behind this course is for each student to “get on his or her feet” at least every other week, if not every week, in a serious of simulations representative of the phases of a typical criminal case. The class emphasizes the “story telling” method of trial advocacy. Most of the skills learned are equally applicable to civil litigation. The simulations will consist of all or most of the following: cross examination, direct examination, an opening statement, a closing argument, impeachment both by prior inconsistent statements and omission, refreshing recollection, the use of demonstrative aides and the introduction of physical evidence. For the final simulation students will be paired up in teams of two, litigating a complete mock trial. During the semester, each student will have the opportunity to play both the role of a prosecutor and defense attorney. Often, individual students will be asked to re-do portions of their simulations after receiving critique from both their peers and the professor. Although the class is not designed to be a course in evidence, the students will learn organically about a number of evidentiary principles that inevitably arise during the various scenarios. The number of classes or portions of a class devoted to each simulation will depend on the class enrollment. Students will have to prepare for the actual simulations and read assigned case materials as well as some substantive and procedural law. Students will be evaluated based on their preparation for each class, their performance on individual simulations, and their ability to improve and process feedback. The final simulation, the mock trial, will be the functional equivalent of a final exam and will count for 50% of the students’ grade. The different exercises incrementally prepare the students to litigate a trial. Therefore attendance for each class is necessary for the students to learn how to try a case. The class is very demanding and fast paced. In an effort to cover all of the necessary topics, all of the students will need to be available for at least one, perhaps two additional three-hour classes which consist of the 3rd and/or 4th mock trial(s). The date(s) will be scheduled at the mutual convenience of the students and the professor during the exam period. Some portion of the class will also need to be available either approximately 30-45 minutes before or after the last five to six classes, the first two or three mock trials, in order to complete the mock trials. The final enrollment of the class will impact when the mock trials will be scheduled and how much extra time is needed to complete them.


Faculty comments: Both the text book and the materials book are necessary for the course. However, both books are expensive so the professor recommends that all students consider the option of buying a used or older version of the text and/or buying the materials book in groups of two or three students.


  Prerequisite: Students who have completed trial practice or trial advocacy or are currently enrolled in either class will be precluded from taking the course.

pointer    Enrollment is limited: 12 

pointer    Meets Skills Menu Requirement

pointer    Meets Civil Litigation Concentration Requirements


<<Course Updated: March 14, 2016>>