Civil Trial Practice

Credit Hours:
2
Instructor(s):

Daniel P. Berexa

Requirements:
Third Year

At least one course of the trial practice series must be taken, typically third year.

This course introduces students to trial practice in a “learning by doing” environment. The primary objectives of the course are: 1) to develop the essential skills and competencies required of a trial lawyer; 2) to enhance the student’s understanding of discovery and pretrial motion practice and how both can impact the outcome of a case; 3) to understand the trial process and courtroom protocol; 4) to enhance public speaking and advocacy skills; and, 5) to learn to be a professional and ethical advocate. Students participate in several small group activities to learn basic trial skills, advocacy theory and the rules and law applicable to civil trial practice. The course culminates with student conducted jury trials in which class members work in teams on fictional, but realistic, cases such as personal injury or breach of contract claims. Each student team engages in discovery; drafts, files, and argues pretrial motions; conducts voir dire; gives opening statements; presents evidence; examines and cross-examines witnesses; makes and responds to objections; and, makes closing arguments. In addition to peer feedback, the instructor critiques and evaluates students on their use of skills and techniques taught in the class, argument of the law and facts, legal research, written product, and overall preparation and performance.