Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law - Beus Center for Law and Society Snell & Wilmer Plaza

Trial Advocacy Program

Are you interested in becoming a trial lawyer? The Trial Advocacy Program at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law offers students the opportunity to focus their coursework on mastering the advocacy skills needed to effectively represent clients in dispute resolution processes. The program fuses traditional law courses with new practice-oriented courses that draw upon the experience of distinguished trial lawyers and judges who serve as adjunct faculty.

The Trial Advocacy Certificate is available to any student currently enrolled in the Juris Doctor (JD) degree program. It provides students interested in pursuing a career in criminal prosecution, criminal defense or civil litigation with a prescribed course of study to help prepare them for practice. In addition, it will serve as a credential representing to future employers and clients that a JD student has a demonstrated interest in trial advocacy and a solid foundation in the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the field.


The program has a focused group of core courses, skills training classes, and litigation-oriented electives. Also included in the trial advocacy curriculum are a number of highly specialized one-credit, six-week courses, such as Persuasive Speech, International Arbitration, and Litigation & Courtroom Technology. These one-credit courses are scheduled to allow students to take them back-to-back, during a single semester.

The list of current courses that qualify for the Trial Advocacy Certificate can be found here. If you are a current student and believe a course not listed should be considered toward your certificate, please contact

The Litigation Experience

One of the core courses in the Trial Advocacy Program is “The Litigation Experience”-- a unique, four-credit course, which covers a hypothetical case from the initial meeting with the client through the trial of the lawsuit. The course is centered on simulation exercises that address all aspects of litigation, including interviewing, motion practice, discovery, alternative dispute resolution, and trial advocacy. A criminal litigation version is offered in the fall and a civil litigation version is offered in the spring. The class is divided into smaller sections of eight students, with four assigned as Prosecution/Plaintiff and four assigned as the Defense. Experienced trial-lawyers from the community serve as mentors for the students in each section. Each week includes a 1.5 hour lecture on a specific issue (e.g., Rule 12 motions, expert depositions, opening statements) and a related 2.5-hour participatory “skills” session. Near the end of the semester, each skills section conducts its own mock trial.


To earn the certificate, a student must take classes in courtroom practice and procedure as well as alternative dispute resolution, participate in experiential learning either through simulation-based instruction in litigation and courtroom advocacy or by representing clients in a clinical setting, and gain additional practical experience through pro bono service, participation in a moot court competition or enrollment in a Rule 38 externship.

During their final semester of law school, graduating students can apply for the certificate here.

Other Services

Throughout their law school careers, students who are pursuing the trial advocacy certificate are invited to be matched with an attorney-mentor practicing in their area of interest, attend speakers’ series, and participate in the mock trial/moot court program, as well as other trial advocacy based activities.

Holloway Trial Advocacy Award

The Holloway Trial Advocacy Award is named for the late Paul W. Holloway, a noted trial attorney and is funded, in part, by his former firm. The award is given (subject to continued funding) to a graduating student in the College of Law’s Trial Advocacy program who has completed the requirements for the Trial Advocacy Certificate and whose academic achievement and advocacy skills are most reflective of the fulfillment of the program’s goals.


Please contact Michele Feeney at