This course is a traditional “Trial Practice” course with an additional credit hour to permit examination of the nuances of how some key aspects of the Federal Rules of Evidence are applied in a courtroom setting. The class combines rigorous civil and criminal mock trial exercises, demonstrations, and class discussion to enable students to develop both trial skills and an increased understanding of evidentiary rules. The course focuses on opening statements, direct and cross examination, making and opposing objections, handling exhibits, expert testimony, impeachment and rehabilitation, and closing argument. In addition, the course includes detailed examination and application of the rules of evidence regarding hearsay and hearsay exceptions (FRE 801- 807), character and impeachment (FRE 404 – 406 and 607-609) and other issues, such as methods of refreshing recollection (FRE 612) and the use of prior statements by witnesses (FRE 613). There will also be exercises on opinions and expert testimony (FRE 701-706). The course is designed especially for students who wish to develop some trial experience but lack the time to enroll in a regular litigation clinic and those who wish to improve their understanding of the nuances of the rules of evidence. Note: This course may require extended classes or extra meetings outside of class to accommodate a mock trial.
Students will learn how to prepare and present opening statements and closing arguments. In addition, they will learn to prepare and conduct direct examination and cross examination of of a wide variety of witnesses. They will also learn how to impeach and rehabilitate witnesses and how to introduce and oppose the introduction of witnesses. Throughout the course, students will learn how to apply the Federal Rules of Evidence and develop a fuller understanding of those rules.