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

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.

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.

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 & 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 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

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.

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) 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.

Negotiation Settlement & Practice

This course is structured as one companion and complementary to Practice Court 3, and in doing so simulates actual practice. It is limited to 20 students. 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 & Habeas Corpus

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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