Advocacy Courses

Advocacy Courses

Advanced Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Topics

Students enhance their ability to represent clients in non-judicial dispute resolution proceedings, particularly negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. This practice-oriented course examines the process of concluding disputes through such means as interpersonal negotiation and properly documenting an enforceable agreement.

Advanced Trial Advocacy

This course builds upon the foundation of trial skills first introduced and developed in Practice Court, but in a small group setting, with extensive individual feedback from the instructor and other students. The seminar extends skills training by focusing on the finer points – development of a factual theory and theme of the case, storytelling skills in opening statement and direct-examination, planning cross-examination, and specific cross-examination techniques, such as cross-examination of experts, controlling a difficult witness, and blind cross-examination.

Advanced Trial Preparation

This course is designed for students in the second half of the Practice Court Program. Each student team works through advanced methods to prepare for its assigned PC III "big trial," including taking video depositions with simultaneous "real time" court reporting and video synchronization for use in the big trial; development of visual strategy and its electronic presentation for trial; use of focus groups to prepare for trial; and advanced discovery issues.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

The techniques, goals, and methods of negotiating, mediation, and other forms of dispute resolution are studied in this course. The primary teaching method is the use of simulated problems in which the students seek to negotiate resolutions to disputes involving a variety of factual settings and legal theories.

Appellate Procedure

The purpose of this course is to study the timely and effective presentation of civil appeal from an entry of judgment in the trial court through the Supreme Court of Texas, including the proper use of accelerated appeal, direct appeal, and appeal by writ error.


This class covers state and federal arbitration law and the use of administered and non-administered arbitration in commercial disputes.

Business Litigation

Students are introduced to specific issues routinely encountered throughout various types of business litigation, including investigation, assessment, and organization techniques for business litigation cases; the issues and legal trends relating to contorts; key causes of action that appear in and form building blocks in many different types of business litigation; building, proving, and attacking business damage models; pleading into insurance coverage; planning and managing discovery in business litigation; working with and examining the experts typically seen in business litigation; and trial presentation issues that commonly recur in business litigation cases.

Client Counseling

The annual Naman Howell Smith & Lee, L.L.P., Client Counseling Competition gives students the opportunity to develop effective and efficient interviewing and counseling skills. Additionally, the students prepare for appropriate discussion of practical issues such as confidentiality, fee arrangements, engagement letters, conflicts of interest, professional and ethical conduct, general litigation procedures, and methods of alternative dispute resolution. In each round of the competition, teams of two students interview and counsel a "new client" with an undisclosed problem. The students are judged on their ability to establish a rapport with the client, ferret out the relevant facts from the client, identify potential non-legal and legal courses of action that are consistent with the client's objectives, effectively explain such options to the client, and answer questions and concerns of the client. Students who participate in the intra-school competition may be selected as members of Baylor's Regional Client Counseling Competition team.

Complex Litigation

Here students explore topics in the area of advanced civil procedure. The course deals with the applicable law governing complexities inherent in civil litigation due to a multiplicity of parties or other lawsuits. A large segment of the course focuses on an in-depth examination of class action law. In addition, the course reviews other procedural devices (e.g., joinder rules, issue and claim preclusion, transfer, multidistrict litigation, and abstention) intended to deal with problems associated with multiple parties and/or lawsuits and the unnecessary duplication of adjudicative activities.

Conflict of Laws

The study of the law applicable to transactions connected in whole or in part with two or more jurisdictions. The general problems connected with jurisdiction of courts, foreign judgments, the application of federal constitutional provisions, and the choice of law are considered together with the rules governing certain specific types of controversies arising in the fields of workers' compensation, torts, contracts, property, business organizations, and family law.

Criminal Practice and Procedure

In Criminal Practice, students are taught the practical aspects of criminal law and are graded based not only on a final examination, but also on courtroom observations and exercises in which they meet with a client or officer, argue and present evidence at a detention hearing, draft and argue a motion, and negotiate a plea agreement. They perform each of these functions in connection with a single case that follows the trajectory of the course.


The Law School offers several clinical programs for which credit may be earned. Criminal clinical experience may be gained in externship programs offered in the office of the McLennan County District Attorney and the office of the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas in Waco. Federal Judicial externships are available in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas (Waco Division) and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas (Austin and Waco Divisions). Other externship programs, such as those with Lone Star Legal Aid, offer students the opportunity to assist with matters under the supervision of a staff attorney. Several state appellate and trial courts offer judicial externships, and students may also participate in the Supreme Court of Texas and Court of Criminal Appeals externships.

Family Law Advocacy & Procedure

The Family Law Advocacy & Procedure course provides students with an extensive examination of the procedural and more practical aspects of a family law practice, with particular emphasis on current trends and developing issues.

Family Rights Practice & Procedure

Legal representation in cases dealing with child abuse and neglect, the termination of parental rights, and protective orders to prevent family violence is the focus of this course. Students are instructed on the substantive law, practical application, and ethical considerations in providing legal counsel to children in foster care, to parents against whom the State has filed a petition to terminate parental rights, and to family members seeking protective orders. Course elements include establishing a relationship with the client; conducting an investigation into allegations of abuse, neglect, and family violence; preparation for and participation in statutorily mandated hearings; filing appropriate pleadings and motions; and advocacy throughout all stages of a case including mediation and trial.

Health Care Litigation

Students have an opportunity to examine the substantive and procedural concepts related to health care liability claims. In addition, the class provides exposure to evaluation of a health care liability claim, pre-trial preparation of plaintiff and defendant cases, and examination of expert witnesses. This class also includes deposition exercises performed in connection with medical residents at the Family Practice Clinic.

Legal Analysis, Research, and Communications Program

First-year law students are required to take Legal Analysis, Research, and Communications (LARC) and Appellate Advocacy and Procedure. These courses are designed to introduce beginning law students to legal analysis, research, writing, and advocacy. In the first quarter of LARC, the principal goal is to teach students how to analyze legal problems; in the second quarter, students work on research skills. In the third quarter, students take Appellate Advocacy and Procedure, where the focus shifts from objective legal writing to persuasive legal writing and oral advocacy. The students research and write an appellate brief and then deliver oral arguments based on that brief in the intra-school moot court competition.

Patent Litigation

This course will survey the unique issues and elements of patent litigation. Topics covered include desired qualifications and experience for litigating patent cases, pre-suit investigation for patentees, initial options and obligations for alleged patent infringers, jurisdiction and venue considerations, substantive elements of a patent case, infringement and invalidity contentions, claim construction and Markman Hearings, expert witness considerations, trial technology options, trial strategies, jury considerations, damage models, alternative dispute resolution options, and appellate work.

Personal Injury Trial Law

This course studies the aspects of preparation, settlement, and trial of personal injury cases.

Post Conviction Procedure: Appeals & Habeas Corpus

An advanced criminal procedure course with a practical focus on representing clients in criminal appeals and in habeas corpus proceedings.

Post Trial Procedure

Designed for students in the second half of the Practice Court Program, this class teaches how to proceed successfully from verdict to final judgment in a practical setting. The course focuses on advanced legal and theoretical aspects of post-trial motion and argument practice.

Practice Court.

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Scientific Evidence

Technical and scientific concepts play an increasingly decisive role in modern civil and criminal litigation. Students who are in the second half of Practice Court learn to build and refute arguments grounded in scientific evidence, identify and weigh complex or novel scientific assertions, locate and work with expert witnesses, and effectively present scientific and technical arguments to judges and juries.