Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Litigation Center?
The Litigation Center consists of a collection of courses, mock trial competition opportunities, programs, and dedicated faculty and student organizations designed to give law students all of the skills required to be an competent and effective advocate in practice.
Why is the Litigation Center necessary to prepare for today’s practice of law?
In the past, lawyers learned trial practice through on-the-job training after completing law school. Today, graduates need to be prepared for the challenges that face them in the courtroom before they step into it. Classes are small, so every student is able to practice litigation skills such as, interviewing clients, negotiating, litigating motions, conducting witness examinations, making objections, delivering opening and closing arguments, and more. Litigation Center students also have opportunities to participate in more than twenty inter-school mock trial and moot court competitions.
Who can participate in the Litigation Center?
Simply, all students! Litigation courses are scheduled so that all students, including both HLP and night students, are able participate in the Litigation Program.
How do I stay informed of Litigation Center activities?
If I dread public speaking, should I still consider participating in the Litigation Center?
Yes! These courses are designed to work with students who are afraid of public speaking. For example, Trial Advocacy, the basic trial course, gives students the opportunity to learn trial skills in a supportive atmosphere. Each week, students learn to stand up and conduct one portion of a trial. With each passing week, the student confidence grows. Another course particularly geared toward overcoming fear of public speaking is Professional Presentations & Persuasion (formerly Courtroom as Theater). That course, focusing on voice projection and other techniques to aid in persuasive communication, is taught by an actor and professional presentation coach.
What is the Experiential Learning Requirement for graduation?
The law school requires that every student take at least 3-credits of “experiential learning,” which can be satisfied by our wonderful on-site clinics, externships, internships, and apprenticeships, as well as most introductory litigation courses such as trial advocacy. We in the Litigation Center recommend that students take litigation, experiential courses and take advantage of the opportunities in our clinics, externship programs, and other centers and programs.
What are the main courses in the Litigation Center?
Is there a particular order I should take litigation courses?
Students who are interested in the Litigation Center should take Evidence as soon as possible, either in the summer after their first year or the fall of their second year. Similarly, students should take Trial Advocacy in the summer before or in the second year. The order of the remainder of the courses is more particularized to the student and should be discussed in detail with adviser, Professor Wes Porter.
What is the relationship between the litigation courses and the on-site Clinics?
Students are encouraged to enroll in our on-site clinical programs to use the skills taught in their litigation courses to gain real life experience and to work with live clients. Read more.
Which professors teach the litigation classes?
Full-time professors teaching in the Litigation Center include Professor Susan Rutberg, Director of the Externship Programs; Professor Kaelyn Romey, Director of the Litigation Center; Professor Mort Cohen, Professor Bill Gallagher, Professor and Dean Emeritus Peter Keane, and Professor Kathleen Morris. Other litigation professors include Professors Carmen Aguirre, Teresa Caffese, Caren Cambre, Lubna Jahangiri, Susan Leff, Katie Ross, Peter Sherwood, Brian Soriano, and Christine Tour-Sarkissian, as well as other practicing lawyers in the community serving as professors, coaches, and volunteer judges and lecturers.
Does the Litigation Center instruction focus solely on criminal or civil law?
No. The advocacy skills learned within the Litigation Center are transferable in either civil or criminal litigation. We also recruit practitioners to serve as adjunct professors and mock trial coaches with criminal and civil backgrounds, as well as from the prosecution, plaintiff and defense side.
Are litigation programs and courses beneficial even if I don’t plan on being a litigator?
The litigation program is beneficial for many reasons, particularly because firms looking for new attorneys often look for students with litigation training or experience. Additionally, all lawyers need to know how to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a case and develop case theories.
litigation center information
What is the Litigation Certificate?
The Litigation Certificate recognizes that a student has focused their law school education on litigation and has achieved a high-level of achievement in the litigation courses.
Who is the adviser to the Litigation Certificate?
Professor Kaelyn Romey, email@example.com, (415) 442-6663
How do I apply for a certificate of specialization in litigation?
To apply for the certificate of specialization, law students should schedule an individual meeting with the adviser to plan out their course of study and then submit a certificate application to the Registrar a few months before graduation.
What are the requirements to earn a certificate of specialization in litigation?
Students must successfully complete: Trial Advocacy (with a grade of B- or above); either Advanced Trial Advocacy or Mock Trial: Competition; either Criminal Litigation or Civil Pretrial Litigation; and at least an additional 5 credits of approved elective courses. The adviser has the discretion to grant waivers from these requirements (so ask questions).
How many units does it take to earn a certificate of specialization in litigation?
14 units in litigation courses are required to receive the certificate of specialization. The adviser has the discretion to grant waivers from these requirements (so ask questions).
What’s the benefit of having a certificate of specialization in Litigation?
The certificate shows employers that you are serious about litigation and have taken a concentration of courses in a variety of litigation skills. By the time you complete the program, you will have conducted a minimum of 5 mock trials.
When do I have to apply for the certificate of specialization in litigation?
The application is due to the Law Registrar several months before you graduate (March 1 for May and July graduates and December 1 for December graduates).
Can I pursue a Litigation Certificate and other specializations and substantive topics?
Yes. Litigation is a practical, skill-based certificate that translates to many areas of practice. Litigation students routinely receive other certificates and are involved in many others programs, centers, causes, and activities within the law school community.
What is a mock trial competition?
A mock trial competition is a trial advocacy, inter-school competition with student teams of lawyers and witnesses. The students prepare a full trial and compete against other schools. GGU competes in both national and local competitions. GGU also sponsors an intra-school competition called the “Prof. Bernie Segal Cross ‘n Close Competition” held in the spring semester.
Am I eligible to join a mock trial competition team?
To be a member of the mock trial competition team, students must have: (i) completed Evidence; (ii) completed, or enrolled in, Trial Advocacy; and (iii) been selected through tryouts for the competition teams at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.
What is the difference between mock trial and moot court competitions?
Moot Court involves appellate advocacy competitions. Students in moot court competitions typically must write an appellate brief and argue before a three-judge panel. Mock trial competitions involve full trials, with witnesses and often a jury.
What is the difference between Trial Advocacy, Advanced Trial Advocacy and Competition: Mock Trial?
Trial Advocacy is the basic course for the litigation program. Students learn how to conduct a direct examination, cross examination, opening statements and closing arguments. They also learn how to introduce evidence and prepare for trial. The final for this course is a full mock trial at a local courthouse. Advanced Trial Advocacy is an intensive course building on the skills learned in Trial Advocacy, where students conduct a minimum of 4 mock trials at a local courthouse and continue to improve their litigation skills and are eligible for participation in competitions.
Competition: Mock Trial is reserved for those students selected to compete in inter-school mock trial competitions after open tryouts at the beginning of fall and spring semesters.