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Trial Advocacy

Trial Advocacy

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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.

Benefits

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.

Degrees

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 asutrialadvocacy@gmail.com.

Trial Advocacy application

Juris Doctor, JD

  • Civil Procedure
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • ADR & Employment
  • Arbitration
  • Negotiation

For complete listing of courses and certificate requirements, please click here.

Career opportunities

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.

Student opportunities

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.

Clinical Experience

  • Civil Litigation Clinic
  • Immigration Clinic
  • Indian Legal Clinic
  • Prosecution Clinic
  • Public Defender Clinic

Expertise

Bob Dauber

Professor Bob Dauber, the Charles M. Brewer Professor of Trial Advocacy, serves as the director of the Trial Advocacy Program. He teaches courses relating to civil procedure, trial advocacy, and dispute-resolution processes and has been actively involved in ASU Law’s Clinical Program. In addition to Professor Dauber, approximately 50 distinguished trial lawyers and judges participate in the program as adjunct faculty and mentors. These experts in trial advocacy provide guidance to students as they transition from law student to practicing lawyer.


Michele Feeney

Michele M. Feeney has served as Director of Trial Advocacy at the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law since September 2019. Previously, Michele served as Director of Lawyer Development for the ASU Alumni Law Group from May 2014 until June 2016, as the Director of Curriculum for the Arizona Legal Center from July 2016 until September 2019, and as an adjunct faculty since 2009. Michele has conducted a private practice in mediation and arbitration from 2000 until the present. Prior to that, Michele worked as a trial attorney. Michele earned her B.A. degree from the University of Michigan in 1980 and her J.D. degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1983. Michele has been recognized in the Best Lawyers in America for Alternative Dispute Resolution since 2004. Michele’s full resume is available here.