If there's an advocacy topic you want to see discussed, or about which you wish to contribute, contact one of the blog administrators - see the list on the right side of this page. Lonely thinking changes nothing, sharing your thoughts may start a trend.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Stetson joins PACE Law School in sponsoring the first regional EATS conference.

Dear Colleagues:

I wanted to let you know that we are expanding our EATS (Educating Advocates: Teaching Advocacy Skills) offerings this year, creating a regional conference designed to share advocacy teaching with those adjuncts and professionals in the Northeastern part of the United States.

Lou Fasulo and his wonderful team at Pace have graciously agreed to host a regional conference sponsored by Stetson and done the way we do things in our advocacy community - collaboratively.

I've inserted the flyer for the conference in this email and if you've got time we'd love to see you there!

All the best,


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Ethics and Tribulations of a Young Lawyer: Sam Akhwale on Integrating Real-World Examples in Advocacy Ethics Training

Sam Akhwale is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya with 17 years post-qualification experience. He teaches Trial Advocacy at the Kenya School of Law, the Bar School in Kenya. Before that he had worked at Private Law firms, with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and with a Human Rights NGO. Sam is a gifted teacher and advocate. He brings a kind and gentle, yet disciplined, approach to advocacy teaching.

At the 2015 Trial Advocacy course for Kenyan lawyers hosted by the Mombasa Law Society at the Coastal city of Mombasa in Kenya, East Africa, among the items on schedule was a discussion on ethics. To set the discussion going, some hypothetical problem questions were posed to the participants in the training.

One of the questions went: "You are a young advocate, and have been sent by the partner in the firm you work for, to travel to and file a motion in a court 150km away from your head office, for stay of execution of an award of damages against your client, pending appeal. You have travelled all that distance, then just before you file the motion papers in the registry, you notice the supporting affidavit drawn in the partner's name has not been signed by him. You call him and he tells you, "just sign it". What do you do?".

Saturday, August 22, 2015

NITA Brings Back the Trial Skills for Legal Services Attorneys Course

One of my favorite advocacy courses is NITA's Trial Skills for Legal Services Attorneys Course. The course is taught at NITA headquarters in Colorado. NITA fully funds the tuition and course expenses for approximately 48 attorneys from legal services agencies across the country. The attorneys (or their agencies) are responsible for their own transportation and lodging arrangements. The faculty all donate their time during the course. The latest iteration of this course took place in Boulder on August 11-14.

Obligatory faculty photograph at the August 11-14 2015 Trial Skills for Legal Services Attorneys Course.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Link to a Sobering Article on Race and Peremptory Challenges

A friend sent a link to an article that the New York Times recently published about the role of race in peremptory challenges by criminal prosecutors in jury voir dire. I've included the link in this blog post, and I highly recommend that you read the article. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/17/us/politics/exclusion-of-blacks-from-juries-raises-renewed-scrutiny.html?_r=1

I'd be interested to know what opinions the readership of this blog have about this issue. Is the article correct? If so, what is the right solution? Should prosecutors be allowed peremptories at all? The article quotes a law professor as stating that prosecutors have abused their use of peremptory challenges and should no longer be allowed to use them.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

An Interview with Christine Kipsang: Attorney, Advocacy Teacher, and Aficionado of Ginger Masala Tea

I met Christine Kipsang at a recent Justice Advocacy Africa trial advocacy training course in Mombasa, Kenya. Christine is in private practice, with chambers in the Social Security Building a few blocks from the court complex in Mombasa. She agreed to contribute to the blog in the form of an email interview.

Christine Kipsang is second from the left in this picture of some of the Kenyan faculty members in the recent JAA Mombasa trial advocacy course. From left to right, Lilian  Oluoch-Wambi, Christine Kipsang, John Chigiti, Benjamin Njoroge.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Trial Advocacy by Distance Learning

Trial Advocacy by Distance Learning, or, Advocacy Adventures in Cyberspace: A Cautionary Tale


Last summer, I experimented with teaching a basic trial advocacy class through distance learning. Except for the final trials, all class instruction and interactions between students and the instructor took place using both synchronous and asynchronous distance learning methods. I required the students to return to the law school and try the final trials live and in a courtroom in front of juries; I was not brave enough to try a final trial on Google Hangouts with the participants in four or five different locations.

At the end of the summer, I gave a presentation about my experience at the South Eastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) annual meeting as part of a panel organized by Suparna Malempati of the John Marshall-Atlanta Law School and moderated by Charlie Rose of the Stetson University College of Law. This blog post both summarizes and expands on that presentation.

It is a cautionary tale. It might even be a tale full of sound and fury, likely told by an idiot, and perhaps signifying nothing. The bottom line, however, is this: if you and your students are prepared to work an order of magnitude harder than you would in a live trial advocacy course, you can use free technology resources to create a meaningful and successful trial advocacy teaching and learning experience. But you will have to work very hard indeed to bridge the gaps created by trying to draw people together in cyberspace.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Teaching Trial Advocacy in Africa: The Magic of Mombasa

As I write this, I am sitting in a room at the Royal Court Hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, unwinding from the 2015 Justice Advocacy Africa/Mombasa Law Society Trial Advocacy Training. It was a busy week, but a wonderful one. As always when I come to the end of a short, intensive trial advocacy course, I find myself experiencing a combination of physical exhaustion from the labors and revelry of the week, and mental rejuvenation from the chance to work with a group of gifted colleagues and students.

Students and faculty of the 2015 Trial Advocacy Training Course, jointly sponsored by Justice Advocacy Africa and the Mombasa Law Society. This picture was taken in the moot court room of the University of Nairobi School of Law, Mombasa campus.