Courtroom Lessons

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COURTROOM ATTIRE FOR WOMEN

This is a subject about which I’m totally unqualified to render an opinion. I’m perfectly comfortable discussing a man’s trial uniform. A man’s trial proper courtroom attire normally is a dark suit, white or blue shirt, a tie that may have a pattern but not a loud one, brown or black shoes coordinated with the [...]

WHAT’S BEST FOR BETSY? COURTROOM FUNDAMENTALS

Lamb v. Samson, Unified Family CourtEach semester in my Comprehensive Pretrial Advocacy course, the law students go to court, observe and write a report about what they saw and learned. Students select from federal, state or municipal court, and they can choose either a civil or criminal cases. These reports are important for at least [...]

MOTION ARGUMENT – DOES IT PASS THE “LAUGH TEST”?: COURTROOM LESSON #6

Maintain Your CredibilityNo matter how much you stress certain principles of pretrial practice in a law school pretrial advocacy class, the lessons don’t stick the way seeing them come live in a courtroom does. Students in my semester-long Comprehensive Pretrial Advocacy course go to court, watch a motion calendar and write a report about what [...]

CRITICAL TRIAL ADVOCACY RULES: COURTROOM LESSON #5

Seeing is Believing No matter how much you stress certain principles of pretrial and trial practice in a law school trial advocacy class, the lessons don’t stick the way seeing them come live in a courtroom does. Students in my semester-long Comprehensive Trial Advocacy course go to court, watch a day of trial and write [...]

“PREPARATION AND CONFIDENCE REALLY SHOW”: COURTROOM LESSON #4

Observing Pretrial Motions and Jury SelectionStudents in my semester-long Comprehensive Trial Advocacy course go to court, watch a day of trial and write a report about what they saw and learned. The students select from federal, state or municipal court, and they can choose either a civil or criminal share their observations. This article is [...]

CLIENT AS A WITNESS: COURTROOM LESSON #3

“Our client was a complete disaster!”Sir John Mortimer’s fictitious Old Bailey barrister Horace Rumpole dreaded putting his client on the stand because somehow the client would manage to ruin the case. But, what about when the other side calls your supposedly thoroughly prepared client?Students in my semester-long Comprehensive Trial Advocacy course go to court, watch [...]

AMAZING TRIAL ANECDOTES: COURTROOM LESSON #2

Romance in a Strange PlaceAfter years in the courtroom, you know you haven’t heard it all. There’s always another story, which makes you say: “Amazing!” This one comes from a law student’s courtroom observation. Students in my semester-long Comprehensive Trial Advocacy course go to court, watch a day of trial and write a report about [...]

COURTROOM LESSON #1: TRIAL LAWYER’S DEMEANOR

Through the Eyes of Law StudentsThe best way to learn trial skills is to second chair a trial with a skilled lawyer. The next best way is to watch skilled trial lawyers at work in the courtroom. Students in my semester-long Comprehensive Trial Advocacy course go to court, watch a day of trial and write [...]