Monday, October 17, 2011

Trial Advocacy at Temple & Pretrial Fact Investigation

What do think of Prof. Herb Kolsby's course (see below) on "speechmaking" by trial lawyers?

Temple University Beasley School of Law1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
•Temple Law’s New Certificate in Trial Advocacy and Litigation.
•Herb Kolsby on Persuasive Speechmaking for Adversaries.

Certificate in Trial Advocacy and Litigation

Temple Law proudly announces the launch of our new Certificate in Trial Advocacy and Litigation.
Grounded in Temple’s ongoing commitment to legal education that bridges theory and practice, the Certificate in Trial Advocacy and Litigation offers a developmental and experiential curriculum, instruction from faculty and advocates who have proven themselves in the field, and live client clinical experiences.
•Participate in Temple’s award-winning full-year Integrated Trial Advocacy Program
•Take a minimum of 4 electives from a robust list of advocacy courses
•Join licensed attorneys in our path-breaking LL.M. program for instruction in Litigation Strategy and Courtroom Performance
•Serve as trial lawyers in one of 16 litigation clinical placements
•Learn about cutting edge issues from leading litigators in our Distinguished Advocates’ Lecture Series
•Gain insight into the courtroom process by serving as jurors, witnesses, and teaching assistants in mock trials and advanced trial advocacy courses
Temple Law has long been a leader in training trial lawyers. Our graduates are courtroom ready and litigation savvy. With the addition of the Certificate in Trial Advocacy and Litigation, Temple Law School formally recognizes this accomplishment.

Herb Kolsby on Speechmaking

Lawyers do two things in courtrooms: They ask questions and make speeches. Only at Temple Law can students take a class dedicated exclusively to one of these acts – speechmaking – taught by one of the best speech makers at the bar.
In Speechmaking, Herb Kolsby takes students through every stage of a trial, from voire dire to closing. Along the way, they learn that there are keys to persuasive speech; that lawyers need to become storytellers because juries decide based on the stories they hear; and that the visual, verbal, and vocal aspects of a speech must support the speaker’s goal in making it.
Enrollment is capped at 12, therefore students are required to make a speech in every class and then receive direct feedback both during class and in a private session with Professor Kolsby. Students study the fundamentals of speechmaking by applying Kolsby’s model to formal speeches like eulogies before turning to the range of adversarial speeches, from motions and objections to argument, opening, and closing. By the end of the semester, students understand how to persuade their listeners – every time they rise to speak.
Professor Emeritus Herb Kolsby ’51 is the former and founding director of Temple Law’s LL.M. in Trial Advocacy program. He is currently of counsel to Kolsby Gordon in Philadelphia and a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

I like the idea for the course by Kolsby. But I confess I would like to see more emphasis  on pretrial preparation in the form of informal fact investigation and formal discovery. (To judge by the blurb below, this part of trial lawyering is missing from Kolsby's course.) Trial advocacy without meticulous pretrial preparation is lifeless, it is doomed to fail. But I am probably being unfair: There are other courses in Temple's program in advocacy and some of them probably deal in detail with pretrial fact investigation (which is my favorite shtick, see


The dynamic evidence page

Evidence marshaling software MarshalPlan

It's here: the law of evidence on Spindle Law. See also this post and this post.

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