This year-long seminar will take the students through the entire course of a civil trial. In the first semester, using a core model case, students will conduct initial interviews of the clients, analyze the facts, and make initial decisions about how to proceed. Then, using the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, students will prepare discovery plans and conduct discovery (including drafting document requests, interrogatories, and requests for admission, and preparing for and taking depositions of lay and expert witnesses). Each student will be video-recorded taking depositions. Students will also draft and argue motions arising from discovery disputes.
The second semester will carry the core model case to trial. The seminar includes mock trial experiences, as well as class discussion of trial techniques, strategy, tactics, and ethics. Students will participate directly in a series of trial practice exercises as witnesses and attorneys. These exercises will include opening statements and closing arguments, direct and cross examinations, handling exhibits, expert testimony, and making and opposing objections. Again, significant role-playing will be video-recorded. The final exam will be a mock trial held on a Saturday at the end of the semester (usually the last Saturday in April or the first Saturday in May) in a courtroom in the U.S. District Court.
This seminar is designated as a two-semester course, with the second semester building on the first. Both semesters include individual critiques of student performances, so attendance is important and will be considered in grading. The seminar is intended for students who are considering careers as trial lawyers.