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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Prepare for Trial Like a Master (Fall 2019)

  • Course Number: LAW-844
  • Class Number: 03590
  • Instructor: Seong Kim

Course Description

USC Gould School of Law

Prepare for Trial Like a Master

Units: 1

Instructors:     Seong Kim & James Wald

Contact Info:     James Wald

                          Seong Kim

Course Description

               Some of the most important moments that define a new attorney’s career come during the months leading up to trial.  The work is important.  The deadlines are quick.  There is often no time for the senior attorneys to do everything themselves.  Thus, newer attorneys are often tasked to assist with this important process.  It is trial preparation that often lays the foundation for success or failure during trial.  For these reasons, it is critical for every litigator (especially newer attorneys) to have a thorough understanding of proper trial preparation techniques. 

                This course is designed to bridge the gap that is often left between pretrial advocacy and trial advocacy courses, but prior or concurrent enrollment in those other courses is not required.  Some of the topics that we will cover include identifying a trial theme, preparing various documents such as trial briefs, exhibits, jury instructions, special verdict forms, deposition designations, and motions in limine.  This course will allow students to practice many of these techniques, such as preparing demonstratives and arguing motions in limine at mock hearings.  We will also cover some of the cutting-edge techniques in trail preparation including the use of jury consultants, shadow juries, computer models, and preparing to conduct an effective voir dire. 

                The course will be taught by litigators from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s Century City office with significant trial preparation experience.  This course is one unit, will meet every other week, and will be graded on a pass/no pass basis.  Evaluation will be based class participation and related exercises.

Learning Objectives

                Our objective is that students will learn how to prepare for trial so that they will learn how to thrive in this often pressure-filled and important environment. 

Required Readings and Supplementary Materials

National Institute of Trial Advocacy (“NITA”) case file (required)
Rutter Group-California Practice Guide: Federal Civil Trials & Evidence (optional)

Description and Assessment of Assignments

                Students will prepare for in-class presentations, from drafting and arguing motions in limine, to drafting jury instructions, coming up with a case theme, and creating demonstratives for use throughout the trial.  Students will be assessed based on their in-class participation, where critique and frequent feedback will be provided in this skills-focused class.


Course Details

  • Unit Value: 1
  • Grading Options: CR/D/F Only
  • Exam: None
  • Writing Requirement: No
  • Skills/Experiential Unit Requirement: yes
  • Enrollment Limitation: 20