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TO HECK WITH SPELLCHECK

Or is it: “2 HEK WIT SPILL CHICK”CANDIDATE FOR A PULLET SURPRISEI have a spelling checker. It came with my PC.It plane lee marks four my revueMiss steaks aye can knot sea.Eye ran this poem threw it,Your sure reel glad two no.Its vary polished inn it's weigh.My checker tolled me sew.A checker is a bless [...]

MOTION ARGUMENT PREPARATION

If you are unprepared to argue a motion, it shows. This was the take away that a significant number of my Seattle University law students noted in their reports on watching motions arguments in both state and federal court. I require that my Comprehensive Pretrial students attend a motion hearing and then write a report [...]

PRETRIAL & TRIAL ADVOCACY: GET THEM OUT OF THE CLASSROOM

When teaching pretrial or trial advocacy, it is important to get the law students out of the classroom to experience the real life of a trial lawyer. For my Comprehensive Pretrial Advocacy course, the students have a minimum of three experiences outside the classroom. First, we go to the scene – the Garage tavern (the [...]

TRIAL ADVOCACY IN KOSOVO

Advancing JusticeFor the past week, I have been in Pristina, Kosovo teaching trial advocacy. The U.S. Department of Justice offered this advocacy training as part of Kosovo’s effort to implement the rule of law. Kosovo is the world’s newest nation, having declared its independence in 2008. The population of Kosovo is approximately 1.8 million. The [...]

EVIDENCE PROFESSOR’S GOLD MINE: PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

Ann Murphy’s Gift to Evidence ProfessorsProfessor Ann Murphy (pictured here) has given professors who teach evidence and trial advocacy a spectacular gift – a collection of photographs and videos that will enliven any evidence class presentation. Professor Murphy, who teaches evidence at Gonzaga Law School and whom I met last summer when she was a [...]

KEY TO TRIAL ADVOCACY: “A HUMAN STORY BASED ON HUMAN VALUES”

Each semester in my Comprehensive Trial Advocacy course, the law students go to court, observe a day in trial and write a report about what they saw and learned. Students select either federal, state or municipal court, and choose either a civil or criminal trial. J. Spencer Thorson’s  report on a criminal case trial highlights [...]

CLOSING ARGUMENT VISUALS

Argument visuals are essential for a successful closing argument. For my Comprehensive Trial Advocacy class, the students are assigned the task of creating a visual for trial. Then, in their mock trial they utilize visuals to among other things bring their summations alive for the jury. For example, Grace Dyer, shown here, argued self defense [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

TEACHING IN BOSNIA

Welcome to SarajevoTeaching for the Department of Justice in Sarajevo. Judges and prosecutors who were in attendance will be teaching prosecutors how to prosecute war crimes. My co-instructor was Patti Sudendorf (pictured right above), who after a career in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is now teaching at Kent Chicago, and Ruth Plagenhoef, was [...]