The First Year

In the first year, Legal Research and Writing introduces students to the mechanics of persuasive writing, pleading practice, and oral argument. The program includes: litigation-oriented writing exercises and year-end moot court arguments.

The Second Year

In the second year, most students take Evidence, either in conjunction with Introduction to Trial Advocacy (ITA) as separate semester-long basic courses, or as part of a two-semester Integrated Trial Advocacy Program (ITAP). Evidence is taught with emphasis on how the Rules impact the litigation process and often includes simulations where students are required to assume the role of trial lawyers by making and meeting objections, offers of proof, and motions in limine.

The Integrated Trial Advocacy Program

Temple’s ABA award-winning ITAP curriculum is a 4-course, 10 credit, year-long program. During the first semester, students take Evidence linked with Trial Advocacy I and are introduced to criminal trial advocacy through the use of two case files. Weekly performance sections emphasize skills training in witness examination, objections practice and speech-making, and developing a case theory. In the second semester, while students study motions and discovery practice in Civil Procedure II, they engage in three pre-trial litigation stages before proceeding to trial.

In ITAP:

  • All weekly performance sections have no more than 12 students.
  • Each student performs in every class.
  • Each student masters at least three mock files and tries at least two cases to verdict, each preceded by a strategy and case theory session.
  • Students receive 20 hours of evidence instruction before trial advocacy classes begin.
  • In Trial Advocacy I, students try a criminal bench and jury trial.
  • In Trial Advocacy II, students argue pre-trial motions, take two depositions, advocate in mediation, and examine expert witnesses.
  • Student performances may be recorded and reviewed with the student by the instructors.
  • Learn More About the Integrated Trial Advocacy Program (ITAP)

Introduction to Trial Advocacy

In this stand-alone Trial Advocacy course, for which Evidence is a pre-requisite, students receive weekly lectures and demonstrations of advocacy skills and then train on those skills in small performance sections.  As with ITAP, each performance section is capped at twelve students, and students must perform and be critiqued each week.  The semester culminates in a full trial, and includes working with actual expert witnesses.

Advanced Trial Advocacy

There are three Advanced Trial Advocacy (ATA) classes available to students who have successfully completed ITAP or ITA. ATA enables students to polish their litigation and courtroom skills. Like ITAP and ITA, each ATA class is capped at twelve students and is student performance driven with faculty critique. All ATA classes are supplemented by demonstrations and lectures.

The focus of ATA is on the trial as the sum of its parts. The courses require students to craft examinations and speeches as part of an analytically sound case theory that governs their trial performance. “Real world” experts are brought into the classroom to give the students the opportunity to prepare and examine professional witnesses. These have included fire marshals, forensic economists and statisticians, psychologists, DNA analysts, and physicians. ATA is offered in both civil and criminal advocacy.

ATA: Criminal

The Advanced Trial Advocacy Criminal class exposes students to the complex issues that arise during a criminal prosecution in pre-trial proceedings, trial and sentencing. Each week students perform as prosecutors or defense attorneys. Students use various case file problems to litigate preliminary hearings, conduct pre-trial motions to suppress evidence, direct and cross examine informants, and admit and oppose surveillance tapes. Students also prepare and examine real criminal case expert witnesses. The effective use of trial presentation software is taught. The final and mid-semester assignments are mock criminal jury trials.

ATA: Civil

Advanced Trial Advocacy Civil explores the relationship between case theory and witness examination in civil litigation. Students work primarily with two case files during the semester. The civil trial is broken into its component parts, during each of which students explore how case theory informs strategic choices at that stage. Students work with experts in depth, they explore persuasive ways to present evidence on damages, and they learn how trial presentation software can enhance advanced impeachment techniques. The final and mid-semester assignments are mock civil jury trials.

ATA: Speechmaking

ATA: Speechmaking (offered only in the fall) explores the art of crafting and delivering a persuasive speech and compelling argument. Principles of persuasion will be identified and analyzed. Students will consider the use of speechmaking in a variety of contexts that arise in legal practice. Forums include opening statements and closing speeches to juries, judges, and arbitrators, addresses to a jury venire and speeches to mediators. Students focus on preparing, organizing and drafting speeches, using exhibits, quoting witnesses, explaining burdens of proof, incorporating judicial instructions, calling opponents on mistakes and misstatements in their speeches, and avoiding impermissible arguments while delivering a speech.