Trial Practice Program

Elon Law students engage in trial practice in the Robert E Long Courtroom of the law school

The goal of the Trial Practice Program at Elon Law is to actively engage students in learning experiences which develop their analytical and oral advocacy skills through simulation-based learning using the basic structure of criminal and civil trials. Elon has developed an innovative and comprehensive Trial Practice Program that enriches other advocacy and skills programs, including the first-year oral advocacy experience, moot court competitions, negotiation and mediation courses and programs, and legal clinics.

The Trial Practice Program starts with the basic trial advocacy course, Trial Practice and Procedure (TPP), a study of the trial phase from the perspective of a practicing attorney. The basic Trial Practice and Procedure course is required for all students in the litigation concentration. TPP is a three-hour course, meeting one day a week. Students are divided into classes of 10 to 12 students and each class is taught by two adjunct faculty members, each of whom have previous experience in teaching advocacy through the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and other advocacy organizations. In the TPP course, students first learn about and perform the various aspects of the trial of a lawsuit, including the development of a theory and theme, jury selection, opening statements, direct and cross examination of lay witnesses and experts, the use and introduction of demonstrative evidence, and closing arguments. Students are then required to prepare for and conduct a complete trial to verdict. Simulations are periodically videotaped and critiqued by a faculty member.

In addition to the basic TPP course, the Trial Practice Program also offers elective courses, including Advanced Trial Practice and Procedure, Civil Pre-Trial Litigation, Criminal Pre-Trial Litigation, Depositions, and Negotiations. The Trial Practice program also offers intensive versions of some elective courses for third-year law students in the Litigation concentration during the Winter Term. In Winter Term 2010, third year students in the Litigation concentration were able to take an intensive Interviewing and Counseling course and an intensive Advanced Trial Practice & Procedure course.