849 Pre-Trial Advocacy, Spring 2016

Categories: Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution Law Practice Skills

Section 001, Pre-Trial Advocacy - Edwards, Timothy, Kelley, Olivia , Van Kamp, Elijah

Course Page for Spring 2016 - Edwards, Timothy, Kelley, Olivia , Van Kamp, Elijah

This three credit seminar teaches the important skills that lawyers use up until the time of trial. Since the vast majority of cases settle before trial, a lawyer's success has at least as much to do with mastery of the nuts and bolts of pre-trial advocacy as courtroom prowess. The seminar will use a simulation approach to cover skills that include:

* Interviewing and counseling clients.

* Drafting a complaint.

* Drafting interrogatories and responses to interrogatories.

* Taking and defending depositions.

* Drafting a pre-trial memorandum.

* Participating in a mediation conference.

Students will receive immediate feedback from the instructors on the in-class simulations. The seminar has limited enrollment. Second and third year students are eligible. This course is being offered on a pass/fail only basis.

Recent Offerings of this course by this instructor

Section 002, Pre-Trial Advocacy - Grimmer, Kim, Richter, Ward

Course Page for Spring 2016 - Grimmer, Kim, Richter, Ward

Course Summary

There are no books or materials to purchase for this course. The course will use hypothetical and real case studies and reading materials downloadable from Learn@UW. Written assignments and homework exercises will be downloaded from and uploaded for grading to personal Dropboxes at Learn@UW. The course will, through simulation exercises and class discussions, focus on a number of substantive areas of law in the business litigation field, including, among others: the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law, the economic loss doctrine, the business judgment rule, derivative actions, misrepresentation law, including that found in Wis. Stats.,§100.18, the implied covenant of good-faith and fair dealing, covenants not to compete, and breach of fiduciary duties.

The homework and writing assignments will be simulation exercises with students playing the role of attorneys, often in teams. These will include drafting engagement letters, complaints, answers, discovery pleadings, various trial motions, including a summary judgment motion, and planning for and taking a deposition based on a case study. The last homework exercise will be to draft a mediation statement for a case that will be mediated in the last class by two of Dane County’s top mediators. There will be other guest appearances throughout the semester.

For law students interested in litigation as a career path, this course is intended to help advance a student’s progress on that long term path. It generally takes a new litigator from 5 to 7 years to become reasonably competent. (See, e.g., Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 practice hours rule in Outliers.) Because of the relative paucity of trials in business litigation, this course will deal primarily with issues, both procedural and substantive, encountered in preparing business litigation for the potential of a trial. We will address land mines to be encountered along the progression of a case from intake to disposition without a trial. The goal of the instructors is to have students complete the course feeling confident in how federal and state civil cases are regulated by statutes, rules and judges, and confident in how to go about preparing a case for summary disposition, effective mediation or trial..

Who This Course Is Designed For

The course is not just for aspiring litigators. It is also for students planning on doing transactional, corporate, trusts and estates, or securities work, and who might potentially view litigation as an unfortunate but necessary fact of life for their business clients. This course will try to provide those students with: (a) a better understanding of the risks and rewards of litigation so they can better team with litigators in advising and representing business clients, (b) a better ability to redirect a wayward litigator colleague, and (c) a better grasp of how to avoid risks of litigation through creative drafting of contracts.


Grading Percentages

Homework Exercises (each one done collaboratively with 1 other student) (8 assignments total) – 20% of course grade
Writing Assignment 1 – 10% of course grade
Writing Assignment 2 – 20% of course grade
Class Participation – 10% of course grade
Final Exam – 40% of course grade