Trial Advocacy

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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. This select group of legal professionals also serves as:

  • Mentors for students seeking to hone their advocacy skills
  • Substantive lecturers for courses dealing with a wide variety of practice areas


The program has a focused group of core courses, litigation-oriented electives, and skills training classes. 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 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 civil 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. Students are divided into sections of eight students, with four assigned as plaintiff’s counsel and four as defendant’s counsel. Two 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.

Eligibility for Advocacy Fellow Designation

While all upper division Juris Doctor students may take classes in the Trial Advocacy Program, students may elect to seek designation as an “Advocacy Fellow” by completing the 28-credit prescribed Trial Advocacy curriculum. This designation tells future clients (and employers) that you have completed specialized instruction and skills training in dispute resolution. Each student who completes all of the requirements of the program will receive a letter of recognition from the dean upon graduation, identifying the student as an "Advocacy Fellow” of ASU Law.

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 student in the College of Law’s Trial Advocacy program who has completed the requirements for the Advocacy Fellow designation and whose academic achievement and advocacy skills are most reflective of the fulfillment of the program’s goals.


Please contact Lauren Balconi.

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