Trial Advocacy

The Program

Judge Mulroy presents this trial advocacy program at your law firm and CLE credits are available for the participants.

Mulroy, a veteran trial judge and trial lawyer, designed this interactive course to enhance the participants’ existing trial skills.

The attendees practice what they learned in the lectures and demonstrations and immediately receive constructive and insightful comment on their performances.

The course provides insights into effective courtroom advocacy, the jury, creative use of exhibits, effective opening statements, well organized and compelling direct examinations, successful cross-examinations, and persuasive and energetic closing arguments.

The Format

  • Session I (Courtroom Advocacy, Interacting with The Trier of Fact) and Session II (Effective Use of Exhibits) consist of lectures and participant interaction and discusses: the jury and the judge, effective in- court presentations and the use of exhibits.
  • Sessions III-VI (opening statement, direct-examination, cross-examination, closing argument) begin with brief lectures and demonstrations and thereafter, each participant conducts a mock examination and/or argument.
  • Two optional sessions are: Preparation and Use of The Expert Witness and/or a complete trial.

Agenda Summary

(detailed course agenda is available upon request)

Session I. Courtroom Advocacy, Interacting with the Trier of Fact

Courtroom decorum; juror selection; conducting voir dire; the alternates; how jurors are summoned; who will be on the jury; juror challenges: preemptory and cause; the way jurors process information heard in court; audio/visual presentation of evidence; how juries deliberate; the use and effectiveness of mock juries; the difference in presentation between bench and jury trials; special problems during jury selection and trial, such as a missing juror, an inattentive juror or jury misconduct; and special issues relating to the bench trial.

Session II. Effective Use of Exhibits

Selecting exhibits; using exhibits in court and in argument; how to admit exhibits; audio/visual exhibits; exhibits in the jury room; demonstrative exhibits; exhibit lists; disclosure of demonstrative exhibits; business records; authentication; foundational questions and objections; and using the juror notebook and the white board to advantage.

Session III. Opening Statement

A lecture and demonstration about the elements of an opening statement. Each participant delivers an opening statement using the trial practice problem prepared for the program.

Opening statement contrasted with closing argument;  preparation of the opening; organization and content; delivery and presentation; the use of exhibits; what the jury thinks of the opening; how to deliver a good first impression; use of notes; connecting with the jury;  how to improve and become more effective at oral advocacy; and opening statement in a bench trial.

Session IV. Direct Examination

A lecture and demonstration about the structure of direct examination. Each participant conducts a direct examination using the trial practice problem prepared for the program.

How to present the witness in a favorable light; witness preparation; the lawyer’s role during direct examination; the effectiveness of re-direct examination; anticipating cross examination; refreshing a witness’ recollection; impeaching one’s own witness; past recollection refreshed techniques; common mistakes and pitfalls of direct examination of the client; “opening the door” to admit cross examination issues or evidence and how to prevent it; the leading question; responding to objections; laying a foundation for documents and conversations; document authentication; and rehabilitating prior inconsistent testimony.

Session V. Cross-Examination

A discussion and demonstration about the structure of cross-examination. Each participant conducts a cross-examination using the trial practice problem prepared for the program.

Preparation of cross examination; structure;  use of exhibits; how to impeach with a prior inconsistent statement and with a document; how to set up a rebuttal witness’ testimony; cross- examination in a bench trial; how the jury evaluates impeachment; what a jury thinks of cross- examination; defining an effective cross-examination; objections made by the examiner during a cross-examination and the strategy of making objections; responding to objections during the cross-examination; and preparing for and examining adverse witnesses.

Session VI. Closing Argument

A presentation and demonstration about the elements of a closing argument. Each participant delivers a closing argument using the trial practice problem.

Preparation and structure; delivery; use of exhibits; use of notes; closing in a bench trial;  what the jury thinks; length of the argument; detail of the argument; repetition for emphasis; best practices in presenting a closing; use of emotions; the rebuttal closing argument and how it is structured; thanking the jurors; and incorporating into closing all that happened in front of the jury during trial.