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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 [...]

TRIAL LAWYER CHECKLISTS

A Simple Idea for Success For as far back as I can recall, checklists have played an important part in pretrial and trial work. Now, bestselling author Dr. Atul Gawande (pictured here) has established that a checklist is the best tool for dealing with the complexities. In Dr. Gawande’s book The Checklist Manifesto: How To [...]

12 WAYS TO LOSE TRIALS BY JUDGE RUBEN CASTILLO

Advice from Judge Ruben CastilloJudge Ruben Castillo of the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago covered the 12 ways and how to avoid them in an ABA Section of Litigation podcast. Here they are:1. Wasting time. Jurors are especially concerned about their time and the time they’re giving up, Castillo said. “So the first way [...]

COURT REPORTER’S ADVICE FOR TRIAL LAWYERS

Making a Record and MoreA court reporter provided me with this article which could be entitled “The Court Reporter’s Lament.” The reporter’s comment to me when he gave me the article was that sadly they don’t teach lawyers things like how to make a record and that, with fewer civil trials, what lawyers used to [...]

HOW TO BECOME A GREAT TRIAL LAWYER

Courtroom ObservationsThe best way to learn how to become a great trial lawyer is to second chair for a great trial lawyer. That way you learn from the best not only what it takes to prepare but also how to perform in trial. The second best way is to watch trial lawyers in court. Law [...]

COURTHOUSE DOGS – IMPROVING THE JUSTICE SYSTEM

"Promoting Justice with Compassion"Yesterday, I had lunch with a former colleague Ellen O’Neill-Stephens, who, along with Dr. Celeste Walsen DVM, is on a mission to “bring about a major change in how we meet the emotional needs of all involved in the criminal justice system.” This goal can be accomplished with courthouse dogs. Their Courthouse [...]

THE STORYTELLING LAWYER AND “BECOMING A LAWYER” WEBSITE

Being on the New “Becoming a Lawyer” Wolters Kluwer WebsiteWolters Kluwer (our publisher) just launched a new website for law students and published an article that I wrote about “The Storytelling Lawyer.” The article discusses the importance of being a storyteller in trial and uses the Dr. Conrad Murray trial to illustrate the points. It [...]

MONTANA’S ADVANCED TRIAL ADVOCACY COURSE

On the Road in MissoulaJust returned to Seattle after serving on the faculty for the 24th Advanced Trial Advocacy course at the University of Montana Law School in Missoula. Pictured here are three key people, without whom there would be no trial school. From right to left, they are the law school’s Dean, Irma Russell, [...]

TRIAL LAWYER’S APPEARANCE – PARTICULARLY WOMEN

Law Students Spend a Day in CourtSeeing is believing and understanding. For the first time, I added to my Seattle University Law School Comprehensive Trial Advocacy course a requirement that the students spend a day watching a trial and write a report on what they observed and learned. The students went to different courts – [...]

CHANGING MEXICO’S JUSTICE SYSTEM – INTRODUCING ORAL TRIAL ADVOCACY

Proyecto Diamante at the National Advocacy CenterLast week I participated in a program that is designed to dramatically change Mexico’s criminal justice system. It’s called “Proyecto Diamante,” and it is intended to bring oral trial advocacy to Mexico.Proyecto Diamante, which was launched on February 7th, is an undertaking to train Mexico’s 2500 prosecutors and 6000 [...]