Hallmarks of Distinguished Advocacy
This course treats oral advocacy as an effort to persuade any audience of the merits of a cause or proposal and of the credibility of the proponent. Each session consists of two roughly equal parts, an instruction segment and a learn-by-doing exercise. The first hour will focus on a discreet aspect of advocacy featuring presentations and demonstrations by one or more seasoned oral advocates interspersed with videotape selections from famous actual or movie-version trials, other famous and infamous oral presentations (inaugural addresses, “I Have a Dream,” and others), audio tapes from Supreme Court arguments and other materials designed to illustrate both superb and disastrous oral work. The second hour of each class will give the students an opportunity to perform, and be critiqued on, short oral advocacy exercises. The first seven weeks treat advocacy in settings outside the courtroom. The instruction and readings will deal with common features of all good advocacy; the student presentations will focus on a variety of non-trial performances—client presentations, advocacy of policy positions, informal and formal speeches. The last half deals with advocacy in the most common trial settings—direct and cross-examination, opening statements, closing arguments and appellate advocacy. All presentations will be videotaped with a brief critique of general applicability during class and detailed individual video review critiquing during office hours. During the last half we will also focus on the use and misuse of demonstratives and high-tech graphics and the relationship between written and oral advocacy. There will be limited readings from the literature of the ancient rhetoricians, psychologists, jury consultants and other communications professionals.
*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.
**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.