I wanted to share with you today the results of a particular tactic that had some success.
I asked two members of the Stetson Trial Team, Kristin Johnson and Jessie Weissman, to take a fact pattern in a date rape case and address the admissibility of potential character evidence(I'll put that information that I gave them at the end of this post). I gave them the facts, told them to pick the evidentiary issue they needed to address, file a motion with the court (me) and then we would set a time to argue it. This is the result:
The students were concerned because they felt that they did not perform perfectly, that they were not completely sure how to respond to the court, and how to structure the argument. Now these two young ladies are excellent advocates and some of the best that Stetson has to offer and I found their work in this exercise to be fine from an advocacy perspective - but that wasn't really what I needed to teach. I needed to help them connect the skills they were using to the big picture, I just didn't know that when we started the process.
After the exercise we discussed the law and the relevant advocacy skills, but the real teaching moment became a mentoring process of how to deal with the uncertainty of motions practice. Structuring the argument, reading the judge, knowing when to hold them and when to fold them in light of your overall case theory and analysis were all part of the discussion. It allowed for a teaching experience that holistically addressed all of the various pieces of the process, teaching them in connection to one another and to the law. I don't know about you, but those are the teaching moments that I look forward to. I would love to hear how others have approached teaching motions practice.
Till next time,
P.S. HERE ARE THE MATERIALS I GAVE THEM(it comes from an appendix in the teacher's manual to my trial ad book and is based on a problem we used to use at TJAGSA).