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.