Advanced Skills in Trial Advocacy

Course Number: 
Deborah Young

You will need the following books to complete the assignment for the first week.

Materials in Trial Advocacy: Problems and Cases (7th Edition) Thomas A. Mauet and Warren D. Wolfson.

Basic Trial Advocacy by Peter Murray


Week 1

Tuesday, January 14 Class Introduction and Case Preparation

Read: Chapter 2 of Murray, pages 7-18

Chapter 4 of Murray, pages 53-67

Read and be sure you know:

Rules 26, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35 and 36 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

Rules 15, 16 and 17 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure

Students will discuss preparation of a case for trial. This will include discussing how to develop a coherent theory of the case, as well as coming up with themes to communicate the theory effectively to the jury. Students will conduct case preparation on the cases assigned below, considering each of these steps:

  1. Determine the elements that must be proved for the case. You can discern these from jury instructions and statutes governing the case. If you are the defense, you should also determine the elements of any affirmative defense.
  2. Identify the facts for your case. Which facts are beyond change? Which facts are in dispute? Which facts help your side? Which facts hurt your side?
  3. Having identified the facts, what is your factual theory of the case? Your theory of the case should be a logical, persuasive story of "what really happened" consistent with the undisputed evidence, your version of the disputed evidence, and common sense.
  4. What is your legal theory of the case? How do your facts lead to your winning the case under the governing law?
  5. Determine whether any motions in limine are appropriate. Do you have an evidentiary argument to exclude or admit any particular evidence?
  6. What theme or themes will you have and what memorable words or phrases will you use to summarize your position on critical issues?
  7. What exhibits will you use in your case?


All students should read and be prepared to be involved in the discussion of all three cases.

Student # 1 (Dubberly) Plaintiff Problem 7.5 Age Discrimination (p. 541)

Student # 2 (Gamon) Defense Problem 7.5 Age Discrimination (p. 541)

Student # 3 (Gordon) State Problem 7.7 Drug Entrapment (p. 569)

Student # 4 (Thirft) Defense Problem 7.7 Drug Entrapment (p. 569)

Student # 5 (Tice) Defense Problem 7.10 Drug Entrapment (p. 569)

Student # 6 (Waldrop) Government Problem 7.10 Bribery (p. 633)

Student # 7 (Woodham) Defense Problem 7.10 Bribery (p. 633)


Thursday, January 16 Case Preparation: Practical Exercise (continued)

Page last updated: Thu, 01/09/2014 - 15:37

Visit the Samford University Bookstore for a list of the texts and/or supplements for each course.