Areas of Focus and Courses

The Stephen S. Weinstein Advocacy Program offers students the opportunity to learn from and be guided by industry leaders, including active legal practitioners, as well as local and federal judges. With more than 15 courses led by the program, students can build a foundation of advocacy skills and strengthen them through advanced courses. 

Trial Advocacy

The Stephen S. Weinstein Advocacy Program offers trial advocacy courses that include practical instruction, learning by doing, feedback from faculty and fellow students and trial simulations.

Our foundational civil and criminal trial advocacy courses focus on case theory, trial strategy and tactics, opening statements, examination of witnesses, and closing arguments. Students are also coached during class by a professional actor on their public speaking and courtroom presence. At the end of each semester, students travel to the county courthouse in nearby Montgomery County, MD for their final exam, which includes a practicing judge presiding over the trial and real jurors. Each of these sections are co-taught by two instructors, a judge and a law professor or attorney experienced in litigation.

In addition, we offer advanced trial advocacy courses in pretrial civil litigation, plea bargaining, evidentiary foundations and objections, litigating in a high tech courtroom, and specialized topics, such as Challenges and Obligations of a Prosecutor, Homicide Prosecutions, and Special Witnesses and Victim's Rights. Each semester, students may also participate in either the D.C. Public Defender supervised externship (fall) or the Alexandria Public Defender supervised externship.

Appellate Advocacy

Our program offers multiple appellate advocacy course sections in civil cases, with an emphasis on federal courts. This course is devoted to brief writing and oral argument techniques, and also provides an overview of appellate procedure, including jurisdiction, finality, the collateral order doctrine, interlocutory appeals, mandamus, standards of review, and issue preservation and harmless error.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Our program offers multiple alternative dispute resolution course sections that include practical instruction, mock mediations and arbitrations, in-class discussions, out-of-class journals, and feedback from faculty and fellow students.

Transactional Negotiations

Our program offers multiple sections of a lawyer bargaining course. This course focuses on the theory, process, skills, and ethics of negotiation. Through exercises, role-plays, and discussions, students will learn to negotiate using various bargaining strategies and styles, and negotiation skills, tactics and techniques.

Students at mock trial competition
Judge Sullivan
Student at mock trial competition
Students practicing mock trial
Students at mock trial session
student giving closing argument
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Final Trials

A highlight of the Civil and Criminal Trial Advocacy courses is the final trial. At the end of each semester, students travel to the courthouse in Montgomery County, MD where their final exams are conducted. These final exams feature a practicing judge presiding over the trial, jurors, feedback from the presiding judge, jury verdict, and juror feedback at the end of the trial.