In seminar format, this advanced writing course will give students practical experience in dealing with evidentiary issues in a broad range of hypothetical legal situations based upon real cases. Students should either have previously completed Evidence, Law 245, or be taking it at the same time. Assignments and class discussions will focus on identifying and researching issues that arise in different procedural settings, analyzing them in writing, and presenting analysis orally. Issues relating to evidence and proof do not arise only in trials. They are relevant to attorneys' performance in many other procedural settings; ranging, for example, from mediations and contract drafting to appeals, motion hearings, deposition preparation, and witness preparation for trial and discovery. Instruction and writing assignments will survey burdens of proof and standards of review, the practical aspects and attendant difficulties when a lawyer must use different types of evidence to prove a fact or has no evidence, and ethical and strategic decision-making required in varying evidentiary scenarios. Taking the course will fulfill the Professional Skills Requirement.
Grade Basis: The course grade will depend upon class participation and the writing of four papers that, together, must total 30 pages.
Instructor: Diane A. Reeves