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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Educating Advocates: Teaching Advocacy Skills 2014

Dear Friends:

I wanted to take a moment and share with you the program for the annual EATS conference coming up May 20-22. Our registration site is open now, and the hard work of the planning committee has come up with a slate of offerings that are extremely exciting.

Many of us in legal education have been experiencing some degree of turbulence as law schools and the practice of law adapt themselves to a what is often perceived as the "new normal." Those of us who have focused on preparing students to be lawyers have watched with interest as the changes have swept across academia,  causing many of to rethink what it means to be a law professor, law student, and lawyer. Some see a landscape covered with challenges destined to change the world in which many of us have worked for many years. In other places you might hear folks talking with sadness about those changes - not here.

I am always of the mind that where some see challenges others see opportunity. We are going to share this year some of the challenges and opportunities each of us have worked our way through recently. Please note as you look at the offerings below that we've added an extra day of optional training for those of you interested in teaching teachers. We will have a half day session working with trainers from firms and state agencies as we help them develop their teaching abilities.

As always I look forward to seeing many of you this May and I promise another conference of fellowship, sharing, humor, and an opportunity to learn something new.

I hope to see you soon,


Topics for EATS May 20-22, 2014
Teaching in the New World Order
In this time of change this session will focus on some of the unique responses to the reality of legal education in 2014. Presenters will share programs, approaches and techniques designed to deal with the challenges facing the academy and bar.

A Holistic Approach to Teaching Advocacy
As the legal economy changes, the need for more well-rounded lawyers may grow. Many of our students are working for smaller firms or going solo. Thus, the need for an advocacy holistic approach may be greater now than it has ever been. This session will address the natural sequence that tends to play out in the resolution of disputes:  communication, negotiation, mediation, litigation.  Clearly, advocacy plays a role in each phase.
We will start with a panel of practitioners a different stages and responsibilities in their legal careers. They will share with us their observations about the skills needed to survive and thrive in today’s legal world.
The session will end with offering ideas for teaching a holistic approach to advocacy--the skills that work in court and in ADR are different in some ways, but complementary in others.  We will discuss how these various forms of advocacy can reinforce each other.

Developing Advocacy Approaches in a Brave New Electronic World
These presentations will focus on the incredible impact electronically stored information, the digital world, and the interconnectedness has on our ability to find an advocacy approach that works. When the world is no longer hierarchical how do we structure stories that work? It will review recent developments in the law, showcase some current approaches and suggest ways forward.

Storytelling - Many paths to the same destination - finding the heart of your story.
These presentations will focus on the power of storytelling and the ways in which we can use this very human endeavor to enrich our teaching, scholarship and advocacy.
This year the conference will spend multiple sessions on storytelling. Offerings will include demonstration by some of the best legal storytellers around today, a template for teaching storytelling, and then actually telling stories. You should look forward to an opportunity to join a story circle and share. These sessions will focus on the wisdom of Mark Twain who once observed that you can learn things by swinging a cat by its tail that you cannot learn in any other way.

Advocacy Scholarship
What is advocacy scholarship? How does the academy define it, should the definition change, and what is the current state of advocacy scholarship in the legal academy? These presentations will focus on the challenges and opportunities confronting those who wish to write scholarship focused on advocacy.
A panel of professors at different stages in their academic careers will discuss how they have approached advocacy scholarship. Examples of recent scholarship will be provided, and plans for success will be suggested to attendees interested in exploring potential advocacy based scholarship.

Coach, Mentor, or Something Else?
This session discusses the differences between teaching substantive law and more skill related legal subjects. It posits that the approach between the two is related, but different, in some distinct ways that are driven by the nature of the subject, the student, and the teacher. A panel of presenters will share methodologies and approaches. Real world training examples will be provided during this session to demonstrate the discussed approaches and techniques.

Communication Arts for the Professional:
Mr. Joshua Karton will conduct an intensive multiple hour session that has been described by previous attendees as “transformative,” “illustrative,” and “life changing.” A veteran of teaching lawyers, actors and other persons of ill repute, Mr. Karton is a living legend. In another time, or another world, he would qualify as a national treasure. New attendees will join the ranks of advocacy professors and trial attorneys who have been “kartonized.” Joshua’s commitment to EATS, Stetson and the bar are a pearl of great price and we are blessed and fortunate to have him with us again this year.

Teaching Advocacy Skills - Supplemental Training on Friday, May 23, 2014
Creating, Managing and Presenting Advocacy Training Programs:

While our conference will run from Tuesday through Thursday, we are adding an optional half day program on Friday morning at no additional cost to EATS attendees. This program will focus specifically on designing individual, short term, and long term advocacy training calendars for firms and government agencies, to include practicing teaching methodologies and how to develop internal advocacy teaching programs within your organization. Attendees will be taught how to critique and how to teach other to critique as well. Those desiring to attend must sign up for this session separately so that we can manage the event. Space will be limited due to the hands on nature of the training and critiquing that will occur.

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