849 Pre-Trial Advocacy - §002, Fall 2016

Categories: Law Practice Skills Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Instructor(s) Grimmer, Kim

Pretrial Advocacy – With a Business Litigation Focus

About This Course:

There are no books to buy. All the materials you need will be downloadable from the course page at Learn@UW as .pdf formatted documents.

This course is designed to help students interested in proficiency in civil litigation advance their 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 (and in all civil 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 progress over the course of the semester through exercises that mirror, step-by-step, the typical progression of a lawsuit from its beginning to pre-trial resolution. We will address landmines to be encountered along that progression. After you have drafted pleadings for homework exercises you will be provided via Learn@UW useful templates of the same types of pleadings that the instructors have used or encountered in their practices. This is so you can start compiling a form file for your future practice, if you desire.

The goal of the instructors is to have every student complete the course:

(a) knowledgeable as to how federal and state civil cases are regulated by statutes, rules, case law and judges;
(b) knowledgeable as to how to prepare a case for summary disposition, effective mediation or trial; and,
(c) confident that if they feel flummoxed in some future lawsuit they can draw on a solid framework from this course to try and find answers to resolve their problem.

Since this course is intended to have a business litigation emphasis, we will spend time on readings, cases and in simulation exercises addressing two case studies that will introduce you to a number of areas of substantive law often present in business litigation. These will include:

1. Breach of fiduciary duty,
2. Misrepresentation law, including claims under Wis. Stats. §100.18.
3. The Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law, Chap. 135
4. The Wisconsin Contractor Right to Cure Law,
5. Breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing,
6. Covenants not to compete,
7. The economic loss doctrine,
8. Derivative actions,
9. Arbitration.

Who Might Want to Take This Course:

The course is not intended just for aspiring litigators. It is also for students planning on doing transactional, corporate, trusts and estates, or securities work, and who might eventually view litigation as an unfortunate but necessary fact of life for their clients. This course will 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.

Assignments and Grading:

This course will be graded on a Pass-Fail basis. Over its fourteen weeks this simulation course will have:

(a) eight homework exercises (drafting pleadings);
(b) two more heavily weighted writing assignments (a research memo and a summary judgment brief); and,
(c) four in-class demonstration exercises (conducting a scheduling conference, taking a deposition, arguing a motion for temporary injunction and representing a client at a mediation session mediated by two of Dane County’s premier mediators)

Active class participation will also be a small component of the student’s grade.

The Principle of Charity will apply to classroom discussions among all participants, including instructors. See, e.g., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPB0JOpvg_E . (Or, study the Principle of Charity by checking out or buying a copy of Being There, starring Peter Sellers, and watching it in action throughout the movie.)

Kim Grimmer, Grimmer Law

Kim Grimmer has a BS (1970) from Northwestern, and a JD (1977, Coif) from UW - Madison. In between schools, he served as Gunnery Officer on a Navy ship based in Japan and South Vietnam. Following graduation from UW Law School, he practiced with Ross & Stevens, S.C., Solheim Billing & Grimmer, S.C, and Grimmer Law Office, LLC, all in Madison. He has an “AV-Preeminent” rating by Martindale-Hubbell.

Ted Waskowski, Stafford Rosenbaum, LLP

Ted Waskowski graduated in 1972 from Northwestern where he was an English major and varsity baseball player. He taught school for five years in northern Wisconsin before graduating, Order of the Coif, from UW Law School in 1980. He joined the Stafford Rosenbaum firm in Madison after graduation. He currently serves as the chair of Stafford's litigation group.

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