Law 710A/B - Trial Advocacy
Steven K. Derian
M.A. California State University, Long Beach, 1978
J.D. UC Hastings, 1983
Third year students have priority for enrollment in this course. This course will be graded on a P/U/NC basis. Students are allowed to take only one Trial Advocacy related course (Civil, Criminal or Year-long) in their 2nd or 3rd year due to overlap in course content.
The course explores theoretical and practical aspects of the trial process and provides training in the skills needed to represent clients in pretrial and trial litigation. Classes consider the principal function of trials - the resolution of disputed questions of fact - and the trial lawyer’s role in presenting persuasive evidence to the judges and jurors who perform that function. Classes also focus on the development of specific skills in such tasks as fact investigation and analysis, conducting direct and cross examinations, making opening statements and closing arguments, using exhibits, and making and responding to evidentiary objections. These subjects are presented through a combination of lecture, discussion, demonstration, and simulated role-playing exercises. Simulations are videotaped and critiqued by the instructors. The simulations culminate in a videotaped mock trial tried by an actual judge.
In the Spring semester, students who continue on in the course will represent actual clients in administrative hearings. Although the instructors work closely with students, the students have primary responsibility for interviewing clients and witnesses, planning and investigating cases, and representing their clients at the hearing. Students should take this class only if they are prepared to accept the responsibility of representing clients. Students must be prepared to miss classes, if necessary, for the preparation and presentation of their cases. Moreover, since the case schedules are not predictable, students should be aware that they may be assigned a case with a hearing during what would otherwise be their Spring Break. Thus, a student who takes the class must be prepared to forego some (or even all) of his or her Spring Break if necessary to provide competent representation in a particular case.
This is a year-long course and it requires a year-long commitment. To be eligible to continue into the second semester, however, students must demonstrate -- by their efforts in the first semester -- that they are ready to represent actual clients in a clinical setting. The instructors have discretion to determine whether a student will continue into the second semester, and they will exercise that discretion consistent with their view of the UCLA Clinical Program's responsibilities in representing clients. If the instructors determine that a student is not ready to represent clients, that student will be given a grade (P,U,NC) for the Fall semester but will not be allowed to continue in the course during the Spring semester.
Please see the individual descriptions for instructor specific requisite requirements.