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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 [...]

SHOOTING IN A TAVERN ON A SATURDAY NIGHT

Today’s headline in the local newspaper is “Jury awards $3.7M to estate of Munchbar shooting victim.” The newspaper account describes how a jury awarded the estate of the deceased $3.5 million with the tavern being held responsible for 75% and other participants in a fight leading up to the shooting being responsible for the remaining 25%.  The shooter [...]

IMPORTANT COURTHOUSE DOG MANUAL NOW AVAILABLE

  An important manual concerning courthouse dogs has just become available to the public. Courthouse dogs provide emotional support for child and other vulnerable victims and witnesses in the legal system. In the not too distant past, vulnerable victims were given short shrift by the justice system. The manual recounts my experiences with children in [...]

DON’T LOSE THE JURY ON DIRECT EXAMINATION

The Engaging Direct ExaminationA poorly executed direct examination can lose the jury or bore them to snores. There are many ways to disengage the jury from your direct. Use the windshield wiper method (“What happened next?” “What happened next?”  And then what happened?”). While this may elicit the information, it can be as mind-numbing as [...]

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 [...]

MARTIN LUTHER KING’S ADVOCACY SKILLS

None of the students in my Trial Advocacy class were alive at the time of the march on Washington. None of them had watched the Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in its entirety. So, Tuesday’s class was an opportunity to not only commemorate the march and the speech but also let them [...]

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 [...]