Registration Deadline is October 26 - REGISTER
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.
How Is this Program Unique?
Unmatched Training -- Other law schools typically teach trial advocacy as an intensive course delivered over a short period of time, but 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.
Integration of Trial, Pre-trial, and Clinical Experiences -- Bundled into one program, this enables students to develop the full range of skills necessary for effective trial advocacy.
Experienced and Dedicated Faculty -- A full-time faculty member directs the program, and a superb adjunct faculty of more than 50 highly experienced trial attorneys and judges, from both state and federal courts, assist with the lectures, demonstrations, trial and pre-trial courses.
Lit Skills Course Descriptions and Course Registration
Lit Skills I
This course is recommended for ALL law students, even those who do not want to enter a litigation field. Transaction lawyers still need to know what will happen if the transaction blows up and heads to court.
Critical Legal Analysis and Persuasion Techniques - these assist in Public Speaking, Advocacy in Court and other Tribunals, and Networking with Judges and Attorneys
Learning by Doing Approach in Active Litigation - this gives the opportunity to participate as a lawyer in a trial in a real courthouse before a real judge and the opportunity to work in law offices tasked with real attorney work
Intensive Learning by Doing Pretrial Litigation - develop skills in Client and Witness Interviewing, Deposition Practice, Motion practice (Civil or Criminal), Motion Hearings, and Plea/Settlement Negotiation
Litigation Skills I More Information
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.
Litigation Skills I Syllabus
Lit Skills II
This course enrolls about 45 students each year, and provides learning by doing instruction in advanced litigation matters such as:
- Jury Selection
- Expert Witnesses
- Sexual Harassment
- Personal Injury
- White Collar Crime
Litigation Skills II More Information
Litigation Skills II is a 3-credit course in which students learn advanced litigation training in commercial or criminal law. 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.
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.
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.
Real In-Court Work Representing Government and People in Real Cases
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. Externs are placed locally, nationally and internationally. See the Litigation Skills Externship Handbook
Certified Legal Interns: Students can apply to be certified by the Florida Supreme Court (and other states) which allows them to represent real clients and the government in criminal and civil matters and argue cases in Circuit, County and Federal courts under the supervision of practicing attorneys.
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: Students have worked In offices for “hands-on” work at Legal Aid organizations and government agencies, both locally and nationally, including:
- Department of Homeland Security
- County State Attorney's offices
- City Attorney 0ffices
- The Securities and Exchange Commission
- Attorney General offices
- County Public Defender's offices
For Information: Contact Michelle Rodriguez, Secretary, Litigation Skills Program; Phone: 305-284-2303; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
To register and participate as a juror the Litigation Skills final trials, click here.
Lit Skills Faculty
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. Federal and state judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and private attorneys work closely with student
presentations in simulated courtroom and law office situations.
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
Jacqueline Hogan Scola
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