Litigation Skills Summer Institute Works with Students and Practitioners to Sharpen Courtroom Skills

New Digital Evidence Workshop Among Cutting-Edge Course Options

Bernadette Armand has been practicing law for nearly five years, but she recently returned to the classroom to improve her advocacy skills in the courtroom.

Armand, (pictured left) participated in the Trial Advocacy Program’s Litigation Skills Summer Institute, an intensive two-week training that helped both practitioners and qualified law students master litigation skills.

“American University Washington College of Law has a great trial advocacy program for both students and practicing attorneys, and it was important for me to take advantage of that resource,” said Armand.

Composed of short lectures and demonstrations, this summer program featured a host of faculty experts who lead courses on fact witness depositions, expert witness depositions, digital presentation of evidence, and civil trial advocacy. During the courses, students honed pre-trial and trial skills, such as deposing fact and expert witnesses, delivering opening statements and closing arguments, preparing and conducting cross-examinations, making timely objections, and laying the proper foundation to admit evidence. Each course was designed to give participants simulated, real-world experiences to sharpen their courtroom skills.

In keeping with the advanced nature of the Trial Advocacy Program, a nationally recognized expert in the field of digital presentations taught a full day seminar on how to present evidence with the newest technology available. Because participants could attend the whole two-week institute or choose individual courses that are right for them, Armand took advantage of that workshop.

The workshop was one of the new components of the program, and featured instruction and demonstrations of effective ways to incorporate technology when presenting evidence. Faculty experts demonstrated how best to use video clips and data compilations in digital format, as well as instructed participants on how to use technology, to make strong, effective arguments that resonate with jurors and judges.

“I think being able to show and highlight the important portions of evidence that we’re using will be really valuable,” said Kristin Guilano, a workshop participant and rising 3L at AUWCL. “I learn by doing, so this has been great.”

The Litigation Skills Summer Institute concluded with a full mock trial before a sitting judge and citizen jurors.

Learn more about the Litigation Skills Summer Institute, and the Stephen S. Weinstein Trial Advocacy Program.