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TRIAL SKILLS

Tim Hallahan, Peter Gruenberger, and other members of The Hecht Training Group, offer programs consisting of interactive seminars, exercises, and simulations to teach trial skills.

FORMAT

The workshop of two or three days consists of a half-day interactive seminar on trial advocacy, followed by one and one-half days of exercises. An one-half day or one day bench or jury can be added to the workshop. The seminar covers Trial Preparation, Opening Statements, Direct Examination, Cross-Examination, and Closing Arguments. It features videotaped segments and audience interaction.

During the exercises, each participant does four 10-minute exercises an opening statement, a direct examination, a cross-examination, and a closing argument. The exercises are done in small groups. After each exercise, the participant is critiqued in the group and then goes immediately into a videotape review room to watch the performance one-on-one with a critiquer. While the first participant is receiving feedback, the next participant is performing live in the exercise room. The program requires at least two critiquers per group.

An option, most often chosen, is to add a full trial the morning of the next day after the exercises. Here the participants, in teams of two, conduct a trial before a faculty member playing a judge or arbitrator. During the trial, each participant on a team does a direct and cross-examination, with one giving the opening statement, and the other the closing argument. The judge, and perhaps another critiquer, will discuss the performances afterwards.

There is no limit on the number of participants for the workshop; however, the number of participants for a workshop is contingent upon the number of available in-house faculty. To train the attorneys who serve as in-house faculty in the techniques of observation and critique, a faculty training session precedes the workshop.

MATERIALS

One case file used is Roundtable Recordings v. Ronni Fox et al. 6th ed. (2007) written by Mr. Hallahan. The case file involves a contract dispute between members of a pop singing group and their recording company. There are four witnesses, two of whom can be expert witnesses. The same case file is used for both the exercises, the full trial, and Evidence Skills. If desired, other case files are available.

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