Miami Law’s highly acclaimed Litigation Skills Program invites students to engage in rigorous, hands-on training providing them with the practical skills necessary for competent professional legal service. Taught by a faculty of experienced trial lawyers and judges, 60 percent of second and third year law students enroll in this six-credit course. Students who do particularly well are given awards and scholarships.
This program offers unmatched training -- other law schools typically teach trial advocacy as an intensive course delivered over a short period of time. Miami Law's Lit Skills Program offers a comprehensive litigation skills course open to all students who wish to participate and it includes pretrial skills and far more hours. Students who take lit skills learn to: write trial briefs, prep for trial, prepare witnesses and gain invaluable courtroom experience
Litigation Skills I Course
The Litigation Skills I course is comprised of weekly lectures supplemented by pretrial and trial workshops that each meet once a week. Students enrolled learn how to litigate a case from start to finish by developing a full range of both pretrial and trial practice skills such as: Client interviewing, pleading, deposition and discovery, investigation, arguing motions and negotiation. Students also receive instruction in trial advocacy skills including: jury selection, opening statements, direct and cross examination, objections, exhibits, trial technology and closing argument.
The course culminates in a highly anticipated Final Trial where students bring together the skills they have acquired throughout the semester and conduct a mock trial. Students receive candid critique and feedback from the practitioners who have worked with them throughout the semester.
Litigation Skills I is open to all second and third year law students who have successfully completed Evidence.Final grades are determined based on student participation and performance in classroom simulations, as well as performance in a mid-semester bench trial and the final trial.
Spring 2016 Litigation Skills I Syllabus
Litigation Skills II Course
Litigation Skill II is a 3 credit course in advanced litigation where students learn instruction in jury selection, expert witnesses, multi-party or multi-claim lawsuits. Students have the option to take either Advanced Business Litigation Skills or Advanced Criminal Litigation Skills. All courses are taught by leading trial lawyers and judges. Litigation Skills II is open to students who have successfully completed Litigation Skills I.
Spring 2016 Advanced Criminal Litigation Skills II Syllabus
Litigation Skills Externship Program
Additionally, Miami Law's program is unique in that students who graduate from the course are placed in our six-credit externship program in which they are certified by the Supreme Court of Florida to engage in the supervised practice of law. Miami Law's unique Litigation Skills Externship Program provides students with the opportunity to apply the trial and pre-trial skills learned during the semester in a live client setting. Students may represent clients in criminal and civil matters and argue cases in Circuit, County and Federal courts under the supervision of practicing attorneys. Externs are placed locally, nationally and internationally.
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Litigation Skills I is a prerequisite for the Externship. Students will also become certified by the Supreme Court of Florida as Certified Legal Interns.
Enrolling in the Externship Program
Students elect to participate in the externship program one semester in advance when they register for Litigation Skills I. All externships are worth 6-credits and require a commitment of 220 hours of service. Students also attend a weekly Clinical Placement and Theory Seminar providing training in advanced skills and professional responsibility. While externships are available during the semester after Litigation Skills I, many students choose to do a summer placement. Students who are placed outside of the Miami area enroll in an online weekly seminar.
Past Externship Placements
- Patent and Trade Office
- U.S. Coast Guard
- State Attorney's Office
- Securities and Exchange Commission
- Legal Aid
- Department of Justice
- Better Business Bureau
- Public Defender's Office
Externship Advisor: Hazel Nicholson, Program Assistant
Course Registration Process
The Litigation Skills department has a separate registration process which is done internally and completed earlier than regular law course registration. Students interested in taking Litigation Skills should visit the Lit Skills Course Registration in Courses & Registration area of the web.
To register and participate as a juror the Litigation Skills final trials, click here.
The Lit Skills Program is taught by experienced trial lawyers and judges and a position to teach in the program is a sought after role.
Litigation Skills Adjunct Faculty
Maria P. Gonzalez
Alan J. Greenstein
Paul C. Huck
Philip Nicholas III
Gertrude M. Novicki
John J. O'Sullivan
Thomas G. Schultz
Samuel J. Smargon
Hon. Bertila Soto
M. Patrick Sullivan
John Thornton, Jr.
Edwin G. Torres
Diane M. Van Ness
Ellen Sue Venzer
Litigation Skills Clinical Externships Faculty
Randall C. Berg
William L. Blagg
Jorge L. Fernandez
Mary Ann Flannigan
Barbara J. Mitchell
Rory S. Stein
Karen St. Cry
Robert Scott Walker