This course will bridge the gap between the academic subject of evidence and the practitioner’s course of trial practice by teaching students how to use evidence as a functional tool in the courtroom. While there will be brief overviews of the law, the vast majority of this course is dedicated to teaching students through realistic examples how particular rules are used during trial and when and how to make objections.
Instead of attempting to organize the course using the numerical structure of the rules of evidence, the course is structured and allocates time according to the importance of topics. For example, the evidentiary doctrine of judicial notice will be addressed, but nowhere in depth as doctrines that are used in most trials, such as party admissions or business records.
Through practical exercises, based on real cases where an evidence ruling was the central issue, students will prepare arguments and defend their arguments. Not the cursory: “objection, your honor, hearsay,” but rather a thoughtful researched argument (as is done in real trial work.) These practical exercises will make up the majority of the course work.
In addition, where applicable, doctrines are broken down into lists of elements where students can learn how to lay the foundation for introducing evidence into a trial as exhibits. Once the item or document is introduced, students will learn how to effectively use the exhibits in the presentation of their case. Students will also learn, and practice how to write, argue, and defend motions in limine, an extremely important skill that most students never learn about until they are handed their first real case after graduation.