OUR FOCUS TOPIC-

2014 EATS @ Stetson has come and gone. But we bloggers don't stop between conferences. 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..

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Need a Fourth Team for an Invitational Jury Trial Competition

If anyone is looking for a competition opportunity in October, the SIU School of Law is hosting the 2d Annual Saluki Invitational Jury Trial Competition on October 24-25 in Carbondale. Here are some details about the competition:


  • Four teams, round-robin format. One round on Friday night, two on Saturday. Winning team is the one with best overall record. Ties broken by number of ballots.
  • Criminal law problem. Three witnesses per side. 
  • Six-person teams.
    • Three trial attorneys for each side per round. Witnesses played by team members who aren't attorneys that round
    • One attorney conducts voir dire of a 6-person lay jury, one opens, one closes
    • Each attorney conducts a direct and cross during the round
  • A representative from each competing school participates in negotiating and drafting a common set of jury instructions that are binding on all trials. 
  • Case file released three weeks before trial.
  • Coaches must commit not to script the trial in any way; the emphasis is on student case analysis and preparation with a limited time window.
  • Judges are all actual state or federal court trial judges, or attorneys with significant criminal trial experience.


So far, we have three schools committed to the competition. We need one more. Please contact Chris Behan at cbehan@siu.edu if you are interested.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Teacher Advocacy Training - University at Buffalo Law School


The UB "TAT" Crew - Over 20 advocacy teachers who successfully completed Teacher Advocacy Training this past weekend


Dear Colleagues:

Congratulations to the advocacy professors from UB who successfully completed a two day intensive Teacher Advocacy Training (TAT) conducted at the University at Buffalo Law School by professors from Stetson and Maryland. They trained for two days on the What/How/Why Critique methodology taught at Stetson and used in both "Fundamental Trial Advocacy" and "Mastering Trial Advocacy," successfully completing all phases of the training and receiving their official TAT designation.  

This weekend Professor Stephanie Vaughan, Professor A.J. Belido de Luna and I took a trip to Buffalo New York to spend some time with the most excellent members of the advocacy faculty at UB. Chris O'Brien and the honorable Tim Franczyk invited us to come up and teach critiquing, sharing ideas about the best practices when critiquing students and developing advocacy courses. This request grew out of our annual EATS conference at Stetson and is just one example of the collaborative way we are working together to further practical legal education. 

During our conference this year we offered to come to other law schools and provide, pro bono, a training experience designed to bring advocacy teachers to another level. The intent was to provide a masters level experience in critiquing methodology without substantial cost to the institution. UB took us up on the offer, providing funds for travel and lodging through a grant that is part of their new Advocacy Center. The result was a comprehensive hands on event that trained around 20 Buffalo adjuncts in some specific critiquing methodologies, classroom techniques and course development. The program included small group work, students who performed, professors who taught, and were then in turn taught again - by our team. A good time was had by all and some incredibly collaborative learning took place.

What an incredible group of folks! A more professional, collegial, and capable group of teachers would be hard to find. Our team was incredibly impressed with their commitment to the process and mastery of the system. We count ourselves fortunate to provide them with their official "TATs" of completion and are looking forward to many wonderful years working with all of them to find the best way to teach lawyers, whether students, practicing attorneys, or even members of the bench.

If you have not been to UB yet and get the chance - go. The city is a hidden gem and the law school is producing a vibrant legal community dedicated to the practice of law and the development of their students. All three of us were impressed and humbled to spend time with them.

Myself, Professor Vaughan and Professor Belido de Luna are so grateful for the chance to come up and teach, for the open hearts that the UB group brought to the process and the professional growth we all experienced this weekend. What an absolutely wonderful experience!

See you down the road,

Charlie Rose




Friday, June 27, 2014

Selby on the Magic of Atmospheric Advocacy

It’s Soccer World Cup time.  Every mis-directed kick, every off side, every fumble, along with every magic moment – caught in the moment to be dissected, wept or laughed about by commentators and fans. Soccer is just one sport among many that shows our love for venting passion and being entertained.

There’s plenty of passion in courtroom trials, at home and abroad. It’s often ‘make or break’ for the parties.  And as for the entertainment:  have you noticed how much attention the media pays to any trial where journalists are in the dock?  Or to those trials where a tall poppy seems likely to be cut down? Or those trials where the sheer magnitude of the criminal activity – be that war crime, serial killing, ripping off a bank, massive pollution, draws the media like predators to the smell of blood. Think of the current English trials of the former News of the World staff, and those of the aged entertainers who, it is said, repeatedly groped.  Think of Egypt and the Al Jazeera journalists.  Think of China, and on it goes.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Should Trigger Warnings be Required When Teaching Trial Advocacy?

Should Trigger Warnings be Required When Teaching Trial Advocacy?

Mark Caldwell posed an interesting question via email to a group of advocacy teachers and friends this past week, based on an article The New Yorker published about the growing trend for "trigger warnings" in academia. According to the article, the term refers "preƫmptive alerts, issued by a professor or an institution at the request of students, indicating that material presented in class might be sufficiently graphic to spark symptoms of post-traumatic-stress disorder." Mark gave me another link to an article in the Christian Science Monitor that debates whether trigger warnings on books are a form of censorship.

Mark's question:

We, as lawyers, often deal with the dark side of life. It's part of what we do as a profession - clean up when someone gets themselves in deep doo doo.  In becoming a lawyer you must have your eyes wide open that regardless of which area you choose to focus your practice you may come up against the ugly realities of the world.
As teachers, are we responsible for putting warning labels on case files? What about texts that discuss the law and use cases to teach legal points?

Mark's words do a nice job of capturing the reality, not only of law practice, but of law teaching. In an era of trigger warnings, what duty do those of us who teach lawyers and law students have to shield them from the ugly realities of the law?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Editing Ourselves and Others: What We Can Learn from Writer's Workshops

Mark Caldwell sent me a link to an Opinionator article on writing workshops. Written by Amy Klein, the article is entitled, The Writing Workshop Glossary. It's a tongue-in-cheek look at the world of writing workshops. Having attended a few writing workshops myself, I found Klein's observations enjoyable to read, and right on point. As Mark pointed out to me in an email, the piece also has some application to what we do as advocates and advocacy teachers. Especially as advocacy teachers, we spend a great deal of time listening to the work of others, critiquing it, and offering suggestions for improvement. These efforts--like the criticisms of the writing workshop participants in Klein's article--are not always appreciated by the recipients, especially in the moment. Nonetheless, learning to listen to the viewpoints of others and adjust one's work accordingly is key to the development of advocates.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Courses Tethering Evidence and Trial Advocacy/Mock Trial

The next course outline (see blog post of May 28, 2014 for further explanation) is for a tethered evidence and advocacy program or course. A tethered evidence and advocacy program is one in which the students simultaneously take a trial advocacy course and an evidence course. The two courses are coordinated and often taught by the same instructor. This version is provided by Wes Porter, Director of the Litigation Center and Associate Professor at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco. We have blogged about Wes’ tethered Summer Trial & Evidence Program for students who recently completed 1L year– called 1st STEP here and here.
This post applies to both the tethered program/course and an independent bridge course between evidence and trial advocacy/mock trial. In our Center, the bridge course is a 2-credit, skills course called “Evidence in the Courtroom” (EIC). We recommend EIC as a co-requisite with evidence, like the lab element that many schools offer, but many students take after evidence. I (Wes Porter) have created materials for EIC.

Suparna Malempati on The EATS Experience

Suparna Malempati is an Associate Professor of Law and the Director of Advocacy Programs at Atlanta's John Marshall Law School. She is also a regular contributor to the Advocacy Teaching Blog. The following blog post is about her recent experience at the Educating Advocacy Teachers (EATS) conference this past May.

In May, St. Petersburg, Florida, is gorgeous – sunny but not too hot, a slight breeze blowing occasionally, the air becoming cooler in the evenings – perfect weather. And Stetson University College of Law is a lovely school with absolutely beautiful courtrooms. Add to the mix, Charlie Rose, a self-described “bear of a man” (actually, I would say more of a charming teddy bear, although I have never been in his classroom). Charlie is a tried and true advocate. He also has an uncanny ability to bring people together and create an atmosphere of collegiality, cooperation, and inspiration.