The Trial Techniques Program


Emory's Trial Techniques Program requires all second-year law students to take part in an intensive practice experience that simulates a lawyer's preparation for and participation in trial work. 

Modeled after the National Institute for Trial Advocacy program, which is used to teach practicing lawyers, Emory Law's program is the largest in the country and is recognized as one of the nation's finest.  The American College of Trial Lawyers has twice conferred on Emory's program the Emil P. Gumpert Award for excellence in the teaching of trial advocacy.  The program's teaching methodology focuses on integrating the second-year law student's knowledge of substantive evidence with practical trial skills through a "learn-by-doing" format.  Trial experience is supplemented by textbook, lectures and discussions.  Students must develop theories for particular witness examinations, decide on appropriate approaches to bring out the facts consistent with thier theories, prepare witnesses, and conduct direct and cross examinations using current courtroom technology in the use of exhibits.

2014 Program

The program consists of two sessions, five Friday afternoon workshops early in the Spring semester and a week of workshops held on campus in May.

Early Spring Session:  January 17 - February 28, 2014

  • Case Analysis and Legal Strategy:  January 17, 2014, 1:30 - 4:30 pm, Tull Auditorium (lecture and demonstration).
  • Direct and Cross, Hearsay and Character Evidence:  January 31, 2014, 1:30 - 4:30 pm (lecture, demonstration, and learning-by-doing workshop). (An advanced reading assignment on trial skills and video lecture will be assigned for viewing prior to the workshop.)
  • Persuasive and Evidentiary Foundations for Exhibits: February 7, 2014,  1:30 - 4:30 pm (lecture, demonstration, and learning-by-doing workshop). (An advanced reading assignment on trial skills and video lecture will be assigned for viewing prior to the workshop.)
  • Jury Selection:  February 14, 2014, 1:30 - 4:30 pm (lecture, demonstration, and learning-by-doing workshop). (An advanced reading assignment on trial skills and video lecture will be assigned for viewing prior to the workshop.)
  • Technology in the Courtroom:  February 28, 2014, 1:30 - 4:30 pm  (lecture, demonstration, and learning-by-doing workshop).  (An advanced reading assignment on trial skills and video lecture will be assigned for viewing prior to the workshop.)

May Session:  May 3 - 9, 2014

Each year, more than sixty prominent trial lawyers and judges from across the United States serve as instructors for the May session.  The May session includes:

  • full-day intensive workshops that revisit the direct and cross examination techniques and exhibit drill exercises, with an enhanced degree of complexity from the earlier spring introductory workshops. 
  • techniques in opening statements and closing arguments. 

Each day, students prepare several problems, demonstrates his or her skills, and is critiqued by a faculty of prominent trial lawyers, judges, and teachers. Student performances are digitally recorded several times during the course of the session. These digital recordings are reviewed with the students by faculty.  Each student will try one case as a bench trial and a second case before a full jury.

Absences

To alleviate any conflicts that may arise, the ABA allows students to miss two classes (4 hours) in any two-hour course, unexcused.  Students may miss either one Friday afternoon workshop during the spring semester, or one half day of the intensive May session. 

Students must submit a written notice (an email will suffice) for any anticipated absence to a team leader and the KEPTT Administrative Director.  Students may not miss either of the trial days during the May session, May 6 and 9, as all must serve on those days either as trial counsel or witness. 

All requests for an excused absence must be personally delivered in writing to the KEPTT Administrative Director prior to April 11, 2014.