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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Advocacy is Contagious

This piece is by Rafe Foreman, the Douglas Stripp Dean's Distinguished Professor of Law & Director of Advocacy at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law

Since my arrival at UMKC I have collaborated with various professors in the doctrinal fields and worked on joint projects. I have worked with Dan Weddle more than most who is the Advanced Writing professor with whom today’s project is directed. Dan teaches many classes from Constitutional Law to writing. He is also keenly interested in the success and experience of each student here at UMKC School of Law. Which makes today’s blog even more thrilling for me to write and play a small role in executing.
Today in Weddle’s “Advanced Litigation Drafting” course the students will be given a fact scenario involving freedom of expression, sexual harassment and unsafe educational environment. There will be a deposition. We will video tape the Vice Chancellor who is coming live, and I am the Plaintiffs Attorney and Professor Weddle is the defendant school’s attorney. We are going to explain then show the students how to conduct a video deposition and the notice duces tecum was served yesterday by myself on the witness via his counsel. 

The deposition will not take long because there are two issues that are going to be very hotly contested. First, I have asked on behalf of the Plaintiff for any and all claims filed alleging Title IX violations and required production of these for my deposition today. I have also requested personal notes and guidelines that were discussed between counsel for the Vice Chancellor assisting him in handling of this explosive matter with his attorney. The deposition will result in a heated exchange between counsel once this becomes known to myself that the Defense did not produce the documents requested by valid request. 

Weddle will stop the deposition and call the federal judge, who is waiting outside and will come into the classroom and resolve this dispute. The Judge, actual Federal Magistrate Judge Larson, will order that both sides brief the “work product” and attorney client privilege issues and present motions and briefs to the Federal court, via class. 

But it gets even better. Once the students have filed their motions, they will ACTUALLY go to the Federal Courthouse and present and argue their motions before US District Court Judges and or Magistrate Judges. What a great classroom and lifetime experience for these students. 

Professor Weddle is always coming up with joint activities between professors of various disciplines and incorporating them into his classes. He has the federal judiciary here in KC supporting these efforts and we are certainly thankful for their assistance and cooperation with our educational efforts here at UMKC. 

So my blog for today, reach out across the hall to your colleague and create something special for these students. Their experience and education depend upon the enriching real life and real time experiences we create for them to share. Peace and good verdicts to all. 

--Rafe Foreman


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