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The Trial Advocacy Certificate at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University offers students the opportunity to focus their coursework on mastering the advocacy skills needed to effectively represent clients in court and other dispute-resolution processes.
The program fuses traditional law and 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 serve as mentors for students seeking to hone their advocacy skills in a wide variety of practice areas.
The program has a focused group of core courses, litigation- oriented electives, and skills training classes, as well as a practical experience component. Included in the trial advocacy curriculum are a number of highly specialized one-credit, six-week courses, such as Persuasive Speech, Courtroom Ethics, and Litigation & Courtroom Technology. These one-credit courses are scheduled to allow students to take them back to back during a single semester.
Other opportunities include the Holloway Trial Advocacy Award named for the late Paul W. Holloway, a noted trial attorney. The award is given to a student in the 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.
The Trial Advocacy certificate, which is available only to students currently enrolled in the Juris Doctor (JD) degree program, will provide 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. 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. For further information about the Trial Advocacy Certificate, please email Lauren.Balconi@asu.edu.
Juris Doctor, JD
Trial Advocacy at ASU Law provides students interested in careers in criminal prosecution, criminal defense, or civil litigation with a prescribed course of study to help prepare them for practice. Employers look for credentials showing that graduates have a demonstrated interest in trial advocacy and a solid foundation in the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the field. Students in the program will earn these credentials by focusing their upper-division study on classes and experiential learning that will help them become more effective advocates.
To earn the Trial Advocacy Certificate, students must complete coursework that provides experience in the advocacy process through simulated or live-client casework. Among 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 groups of eight, 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.