Successful attorneys are skilled communicators inside and outside of the courtroom. This course will equip students with effective communication techniques to achieve desired results in real-life situations, such as speaking with partners or work staff, handling difficult work conversations, delivering presentations, client interactions, and more. Students will learn how to assess each scenario and be able to identify the best method to communicate their message with authenticity and confidence. Our focus will include vocal variation, purposeful movement, effective use of technology to enhance in-person and online presence, and other media.

Professors:

Prof. Harriet Scott
This course is intended for students interested in pursuing careers in litigation. This trial advocacy concentration provides advanced practical techniques and promotes mastery of the courtroom. Utilizing case strategies, students will hone their courtroom skills by presenting simulated trials and learning proper utilization of technology during different phases of trial. Students will be introduced to a variety of witnesses, including expert testimony, and learn effective methods for examination. Writing assignments will focus on advanced procedural and evidentiary issues. Class size will be limited. Prerequisite: Trial Advocacy or STEP or permission of the professor.

Prof. Rachel Brockl
Prof. Brian Feinberg
Prof. Ryan Wagner
The most challenging cases for both prosecutors and defense attorneys are special victim cases involving allegations of domestic violence and/or sexual assault. The incidents underlying these cases typically occur in private in a domestic environment often laden with complicated and dysfunctional dynamics. The presentation of these sensitive cases in public court proceedings creates numerous pitfalls for even the most experienced practitioners as all parties struggle to balance the defendant’s rights against the victim’s rights, often with no clear way of reconciliation. This course will examine these types of cases from start to finish, including investigation, the filing of criminal charges, trial, and sentencing, as well as the complex social issues and public interest surrounding these cases. Students will learn both the practical skills for handling these cases and consider the deeper implications regarding how such cases are handled in today’s criminal justice system. Prerequisite: Evidence.

Professors:


Prof. Will Morehead
A judge’s first impression of a lawyer is often based on the quality of his or her papers. That impression had better be a good one. This course will teach students how to effectively draft motions and argue them in a real-world setting. Utilizing a variety of fact patterns, students will develop a portfolio of written work and will receive feedback aimed at building confidence in courtroom advocacy.

Professors:

Prof. Rachel Brockl
Prof. Erik Faussner
Judge Edward Torpoco
This course is a survey of the principles of law and rules governing the admissibility of proof at criminal or civil trials, including direct and cross-examination of witnesses, impeachment of credibility, expert testimony, hearsay, privileged communication, and documentary proof. Prerequisite: Civil Procedure I, Co-requisite: Civil Procedure II.

Professors:

Judge Andrew Steckler
Prof. Will Morehead
A two-unit course designed to help you master and properly utilize the California rules of evidence. Practical work will empower and propel victory at trial with both judge and jury. You will use the evidence code, brain cognition theory, hands-on practice, research, and experiential and spontaneous problem solving skills during actual trial situations to ensure that your story prevails. You will gain comfort, expertise and the expansive ability to improvise, adapt and overcome the unexpected events that occur during trial. This course counts toward completion of the Experiential Learning Requirement. Prerequisites: Evidence and Trial Advocacy.  

Professors:

Prof. Rachel Brockl
Prof. David Vogelstein
In this course, students handle every aspect of the pretrial preparation of a civil lawsuit. They proceed from the initial client contact, through formulating client representational strategy, to developing a case theory. They draft all the case pleadings as well as motions challenging the sufficiency of the pleadings. Students also engage in all aspects of fact investigation. The course ends with a pre-trial settlement conference.

Professor:

Prof. Louie Castoria
Apply the skills learned in Trial Advocacy in the context of a criminal case. The class is divided into trial teams assigned to prosecution or defense. The class begins with the staging of a mock crime, it is reported, a suspect is arrested, charges are filed, and the prosecution commences. The class proceeds through major phases of a criminal trial.

Professors:

Prof. Will Morehead
Prof. Jennifer Redding
Prof. Brian Feinberg
Most civil lawsuits are won and lost in discovery. Develop a strong foundation for one of the most critical phases of civil pretrial discovery – the deposition. Learn techniques and strategies developed to maximize your time during a deposition and to get at the heart of the other side’s case. This course will cover how to prepare for a deposition, effectively use documents during a deposition, deal with difficult counsel, and defend against a deposition.

Professors:

Prof. Chris Martiniak
In this class you will develop core competencies in eDiscovery, and learn to manage the risks associated with identification, preservation, collection and production of electronically stored information (ESI). ESI comprises approximately 90% of documents produced in a litigation (emails, network databases, Word, excel, social media and cellular data), and ESI significantly increases in volume and complexity with each passing year. Leave this course with an understanding of how to satisfy your eDiscovery obligations under Federal and California law.

Professor:

Prof. Jen Coleman
The Expert Witness course introduces you to hiring, deposing, and obtaining trial testimony from an expert in a real case. During class, you will prepare your witness to give a deposition, practice voir dire, and prepare a cross examination for the opposing expert. You will also learn the applicable FRE, FRCP and case law. This course counts toward completion of the Experiential Learning Requirement. Prerequisites: Evidence and Trial Advocacy.

Professor:

Prof. Curtis Briggs
You’ve lived with the case for years, immersed in every little detail. But now it’s time for trial: what will a jury think? This course will teach you how to think through your case like a juror and prepare it for a lay audience, how to write and conduct effective voir dire to identify (and strike) problematic or biased jurors, and how to strategically select the best jury you can.

Professor:

Prof. Alex Jakle
This course will prepare 1st STEP students for their summer trial and evidence program by teaching them basic trial skills necessary to become successful litigators in the courtroom. The course will teach students an overview of litigation, including the differences between civil and criminal law. Students will participate in drafting and arguing a motion, will learn to prepare and be a good witness, and begin the process of reviewing a case file and putting together a trial. Students will end the course presenting jury addresses in a mock-trial setting. The course is designed to provide students with feedback and guidance to prepare them for the intensive summer litigation program. Open only to students applying for 1st STEP.

Professors:

Prof. Rachel Brockl
Prof. Erik Faussner
Prof. Benjamin Mains
Prof. Brian Feinberg
This course will prepare 1st STEP students for their summer trial and evidence program by teaching them basic trial skills necessary to become successful litigators in the courtroom. The course will teach students an overview of litigation, including the differences between civil and criminal law. Students will participate in drafting and arguing a motion, will learn to prepare and be a good witness, and begin the process of reviewing a case file and putting together a trial. Students will end the course presenting jury addresses in a mock-trial setting. The course is designed to provide students with feedback and guidance to prepare them for the intensive summer litigation program. Open only to students applying for 1st STEP.

Professors:

Prof. Gregory Stubbs
Prof. Erik Faussner
This course is open only to students who have been selected by the instructor to represent the law school in an inter-school mock trial competition. The number of mock trial competitions, and corresponding student competitors, varies from year to year. Selection to compete in mock trial competitions will be based upon an application and tryout open to all upper division students who have completed Evidence and have completed or are currently enrolled in Trial Advocacy. Consent of the instructor is required for registration in this course. Prerequisite: Evidence, Co-requisite: Trial Advocacy. For more information on our National Trial Team, CLICK HERE
Real-life cases illustrate the unexpected twists and turns a civil case can take and the strategies employed to prevail. Using actual trial court case examples and milestone appellate decisions, students will apply creative strategies in role-playing exercises and written work assignments often assigned to associate attorneys: opinion letters, motions, reports to clients, and appellate briefs. Guest lecturers will provide diverse perspectives on how a recently-admitted lawyer can make a difference. Co-requisite: Evidence.

Professor:

Prof. Louie Castoria
This course teaches performance skills related to the use of voice, body, and movement in the context of the courtroom. It is designed for law students who want to improve their presentations as trial and appellate advocates or to simply be more effective in ordinary lawyer communications. The premise of the instructors is, “Lawyers don’t have a constitutional right to be boring!” This course is graded on a Credit/No Credit basis.

Professor:

Prof. Harriet Schiffer Scott
Persuasive storytelling is key to becoming a winning trial lawyer. This advanced “how to” course is for students who want a deeper dive into the science and art of jury storytelling and persuasion. Students will be introduced to the trial preparation techniques of some of the most successful trial lawyers in the country. Topics will include how to let your story do the arguing for you, how to successfully use focus groups, how to combat cognitive biases of jurors, and how to become more persuasive through proper framing, among others. Utilizing interactive strategies, students will practice and hone their courtroom persuasion skills. Class size will be limited. ​Prerequisites: Trial Advocacy or STEP or permission of the professor.

Professors:

Prof. Jody Mask  
This is the entry course for the litigation program, and it teaches the basic skills needed by every lawyer going to court: conducting a direct examination of a witness, introducing documents and physical evidence, cross-examining witnesses, making and answering objections, and preparing opening statements and closing arguments. Much of the students’ work is videotaped. The final examination for this course is a full trial conducted in a local courthouse. This course counts toward completion of the Experiential Learning Requirement. Prerequisite/Corequisite (depending on the instructor): Evidence.

Professors:

Prof. Samuel Luzadas
Judge Edward Torpoco
Prof. Rachel Brockl

Specializing in Practical Trial Skills

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ADDRESS:

536 MISSION STREET, ROOM 3205
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94105

Points of Contact

RACHEL BROCKL

Director of the Litigation Program

  • 415-369-5216
  • rbrockl@ggu.edu

CLODAGH MAUCHLINE

Litigation Center Baxter Fellow

  • 415-369-5213
  • baxterfellow@ggu.edu

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