Advanced Trial Advocacy

There are three different sections of Advanced Trial Advocacy:

  • Advanced Trial Advocacy Criminal and Civil (Fall Semester Only)
  • Advanced Trial Advocacy Civil/The David E. Worby Course (Spring Semester Only)
  • Advanced Trial Advocacy Criminal (Spring Semester Only)

Each section has a unique approach to the subject. Course descriptions for each of the different sections are below.  Please note that the Pre-requisites for all three sections of Advanced Trial Advocacy are Evidence (7024) and either Trial Advocacy (7050) or Intensive Trial Advocacy (7128)

Advanced Trial Advocacy, Civil and Criminal is a unique opportunity for students to enhance the fundamental trial advocacy skills learned in Trial Advocacy and to learn more advanced advocacy techniques. This section of Advanced Trial Advocacy is taught by The Honorable Juan R. Sanchez. The course is designed to sharpen trial skills through weekly criminal and civil trial simulations, which are often derived from actual cases tried before Judge Sanchez. Students work in groups to prepare for the weekly in-class exercises. In doing so, they learn the importance of working together to develop a cohesive case theory and trial strategy.

The course is structured so that:

  • Each week both teams will alternate its representation of the plaintiff/prosecution and defense;
  • Each week student team members will be responsible for a different trial component (i.e. pretrial motions, opening statements, trial examinations and closing arguments), and;
  • Ultimately every student will have the opportunity to perform every trial component more than once for both plaintiff/prosecution and defense.

The course will also feature special trial topics and guest speakers, including attorneys who appeared before Judge Sanchez in the cases on which some of the simulated exercises are based. Students are expected to conduct themselves as trial attorneys for the duration of each class session. Participation, preparation and attendance are mandatory. At its culmination, the course requires pairs of students to prepare and perform a final trial.

The final grade will be based on the student's performance at the trial and attendance, preparation, and performance throughout the semester.

David Worby

The David E. Worby course in Advanced Trial Advocacy is designed to build on the skills learned in the basic Trial Advocacy course. The focus of the course will be on developing case theory and strategy, and implementing them through specific assignments involving more sophisticated skills in a civil case.

 

 

 

The course will focus specifically on:

  1. Voir Dire
  2. Preparation of a witness
  3. Interrogation of a witness on a complex factual pattern
  4. Preparation and examination of expert witnesses. Examples of experts receiving attention are:
    • Medical Expert
    • Engineer or Scientist
    • Economist and/or Accountant
  5. Demonstrative Evidence: How graphs, models, computer- generated graphics, and other techniques are employed today in court
  6. Damages: The proof and persuasion involved in establishing damages
  7. Opening and Closing Addresses to Jury and/or Judge in complex cases. 

Experienced Trial Attorneys and other experts will join the class in discussing the preparation of witnesses and exhibits in various disciplines, and to demonstrate specific trial techniques.

Students who are accepted into the course must review the entire case file and become fully familiar with it at the beginning of the semester. Note Special Scheduling: The schedule doubles up classes most weeks in January, February, and into March. Classes end at the beginning of March so that students have adequate time to prepare for the final trial, which requires extensive preparation, before they are into the exam period. 

The final grade will be based on the student's performance at the trial (which is a full day during a weekend in March or the beginning of April), and attendance, preparation, and performance throughout the semester. 

Advanced Trial Advocacy, Criminal is designed to build on the skills learned in the basic Trial Advocacy course. It is team-taught by lawyers with experience in trying federal criminal cases. The focus of the course is on sharpening trial skills with respect to a single criminal case.

In the first three-quarters of the course, students practice opening statements; direct and cross examination of fact witnesses, an expert witness, and the defendant; and closing arguments. For those exercises, students alternately represent the prosecution and the defense and take turns acting as witnesses. In the final quarter of the course, each student does a complete trial of the case. In the last class before the trials begin, the prosecutors and defense lawyers meet in separate groups to discuss trial strategy; each discussion is led by an instructor. Throughout the course, but especially in the final trials, the emphasis is on developing a theory of the case and building opening and closing statements around a theme that expresses that theory.

Students who are accepted into the course must review the entire case file and become fully familiar with it at the beginning of the semester. Students are required to attend two trials: their own and one at which they act as witnesses. The final class is a critique of the trials.

The final grade will be based on the student's performance at the trial and attendance, preparation, and performance throughout the semester.

Contact Us

Peter Thompson

Director of Experiential Learning

Email

"My intensive trial experience on the Villanova Trial Team prepared me well to be an Assistant District Attorney."

- Michelle Stranen, VLS '08