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Advocacy Courses

Advocacy Courses

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 3 "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

A study of the techniques, goals, and methods of negotiating, as well as other forms of dispute resolution, primarily mediation. The principal 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.

Arbitration

A study of state and federal arbitration law including the ability to compel or resist arbitration as well as practical guidance on drafting arbitration agreements and preparing for and participating in arbitration hearings.

Beginning Trial Advocacy

This course seeks to provide students with a foundation in the art of trial advocacy prior to more advanced training in Practice Court. Course methodology includes class discussion, group planning, performance drills and group critique. Subjects for study include developing a theory and theme of the issue; storytelling skills, as applied to opening statement; direct examination skills; planning of cross-examination and cross-examination techniques.

Client Counseling

Students in this course seek to develop those skills necessary to establish appropriate professional relationships with clients. Specifically, the class engages in exercises that encourage students (i) to recognize and use different questioning techniques; (ii) to develop the skills to counsel clients in a manner that encourages full client participation in decision-making; and (iii) to recognize and resolve potential ethical issues related to the attorney/client relationship. In-class exercises are supplemented by assigned readings.

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 & 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.

Externships

The Law School offers several externship opportunities for which credit may be earned. Prosecutorial 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

This course provides a practical study of substantive and procedural considerations in the preparation and presentation of family law litigation.

Healthcare 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.

Intellectual Property Litigation

A survey of the unique issues and elements of an intellectual property lawsuit. Topics covered include assessing whether a lawsuit is the proper course of action and the risks of litigation, conducting pre-suit investigations, selecting expert witnesses, drafting pleadings, conducting pretrial activities, discovery, evidentiary challenges, trial preparation and appellate procedures. This course is to be taken with Practice Court 3.

Legal Analysis, Research, and Communications Program

First-year law students are required to take Legal Analysis, Research, and Communications (LARC): Introduction and LARC: Persuasive Communication. 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 Persuasive Communication, 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.

Negotiation Settlement & Practice

This course is structured as one companion and complementary to Practice Court 3, and in doing so simulates actual practice. As lawyers prepare for the final trial in a case, many preliminary matters occur, including the use of negotiation and mediation. This course will examine those processes in detail and consider their use at each stage of the pretrial process, as well as use in attempting a final resolution or settlement in advance of the trial. Students must be enrolled in Practice Court or have taken the course.

Personal Injury Trial Law

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

Post Conviction Procedure: Appeals

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

Practice Court

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