Carolyn Grose

Associate Professor of Law

Ann Juergens

Co-Director of Clinic Program

Peter B. Knapp

Co-Director of Clinic Program

Sue McKenzie

Administrative Coordinator, Advocacy

Advocacy: Preparation for practice

All Mitchell students take Advocacy to hone their representation skills. Students practice the deposition, direct examination, cross-examination, closing argument and final trial skills they’ve learned in Mitchell’s high-tech courtrooms, with performances videotaped for further critiques by experienced lawyers and judges.

The practice of law involves three primary relationships: with clients, with opposing lawyers, and with decision makers. Advocacy, the act of arguing in support of a client, is a skill at the core of each of these relationships.

Our Advocacy class provides students the opportunity to reflect upon and practice the essential skill of advocating responsibly on behalf of clients. Students learn to think and act as a lawyer advocate, using trial and appellate courts as settings for simulated exercises.

Mitchell students on Advocacy

“Being critiqued by a number of local lawyers/judges gives students the chance to hear many opinions about how things really work in practice.”

“The expertise and years of experience of the skills professors are very beneficial to students.  They shared what they had learned the hard way; on how to perform more effectively in the court room; what to do and what not to do.”

“The adjuncts were incredible. Each one of them offered very helpful and honest advice. I really enjoyed the feedback portions of the course.”

“The trial exercises were a helpful way of being introduced to direct, cross, and closing arguments. For me, the only way to really learn this is practicing, Advocacy provided me an opportunity to practice.”

In Advocacy, students learn to question witnesses in a variety of settings, including depositions and trial, to use facts and law to tell a compelling story on behalf of their client, to present trial and appellate arguments, and to conduct a bench trial or administrative hearing. Students also develop their research and writing skills and master the special art of composing a persuasive appellate brief.

The course prepares students to advocate in a variety of professional settings after law school. Many students will practice law and represent clients before judges, jurors, and arbitrators. Others will advocate as transactional lawyers, corporate counsel, government attorneys, lobbyists, non-profit advisors, politicians, or other professionals. The skills and theories students learn in Advocacy transfer readily to all of these situations.

Two full-time faculty members coordinate the course, working with practicing lawyers and judges who serve as adjunct professors and teach classes.