Litigators represent clients in the adversarial resolution of legal disputes in a court or through alternative dispute resolution methods including mediation, negotiation or arbitration. Litigators can be found in most legal specialties and often concentrate in a particular area, such as corporate, health, employment and labor, family or criminal law. Litigators may handle a wide range of criminal or civil cases. As part of their work, they often lead investigations; interview, counsel and prepare witnesses; draft motion briefs; present cases in court; and brief and argue cases on appeal.
Villanova Law offers numerous courses—both procedure and practice-based—that develop and hone the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective litigator. In the School’s trial advocacy courses, students learn how to execute a trial strategy by conducting crisp and compelling witness examinations, handling exhibits with precision and confidence, and delivering clear and persuasive arguments. Upper-level legal writing courses focus on areas such as appellate advocacy and pretrial motion practice. Additional classes focus on key substantive topics, such as damages or expert witnesses, and important skills such as interviewing, counseling, and negotiation.
Numerous hands-on experiences are available through Villanova Law’s litigation-based clinics—Civil Justice Clinic, Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services, Farmworker Legal Aid Clinic, Federal Tax Clinic and Interdisciplinary Mental and Physical Health Law Clinic—in which students, under the supervision of a full-time faculty member, represent real clients in court or before administrative agencies. A hallowed Villanova Law tradition, the annual intra-school Theodore L. Reimel ’24 CLAS Moot Court Competition fosters student development in written and oral advocacy through simulated appellate argument.
Students interested in this area may also pursue an externship in the field. A hallmark of Villanova’s educational experience, our externship program offers placements in a variety of practice settings, including corporate, government, and nonprofit (see below for a list of recent placements). Externships are supervised by both an on-site field instructor and a full-time faculty member who works closely with each student to monitor progress and to ensure overall professional development.
The below list highlights Villanova Law courses that are fundamentally associated with this practice area.
Of the courses listed below, the foundational doctrinal courses—Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, Constitutional Law and Torts—and an upper level Legal Writing (Transactional or Litigation) are required. The remaining courses are helpful but not required for those interested in the field.
The below list highlights Villanova Law courses that are related, but not necessarily essential to this practice area. Students interested in this field may consider enrolling in these courses to supplement their studies.