The Litigation Experience

The Litigation Experience course is designed to be the culminating experience of the Trial Advocacy Program. It also satisfies the professional skills requirement for J.D. candidates. This required core course may eventually be limited to third-year students who are Program participants, but it is currently open to second-year students as well. 

Course structure

The Litigation Experience is organized around a hypothetical civil case and progresses, week by week, through the various stages typically encountered in the life of a lawsuit – from the pleading stage through discovery, motion practice, trial and post-trial proceedings. Each week includes a 1.5-hour lecture and, later in the week, a related 2.5-hour participatory “skills” session. Near the end of the semester, each skills section conducts its own mock jury trial.

Class Size

The skills sessions are conducted in limited-enrollment sections, designed to give each student the opportunity to perform “learn-by-doing” exercises each week. Sections are limited to eight students - four assigned as plaintiff’s counsel and four assigned as defendant’s counsel. Section size may thus limit registrations. Each week’s 1.5-hour focused lecture is presented to all sections in a single large group session.


Week 1:      Case Introduction/Pretrial Motions
Week 2:      Discovery Planning & Introduction to Depositions
Week 3:      Taking and Defending Depositions
Week 4:      Use of Depositions at Trial
Week 5:      Discovery Motions
Week 6:      Expert Witness Deposition and Discovery Issues
Week 7:      Direct and Cross-Examination of Expert Witnesses
Week 8:      ADR (Mediation)
Week 9:      Motions for Summary Judgment
Week 10:    Pretrial Conference/Motions in Limine/Jury Selection
Week 11:    Trial Objections/Opening Statements/Closing Arguments
Week 12:    Trial
Week 13:    Post-Trial Proceedings


A select group of nearly 40 distinguished trial lawyers and judges from the metropolitan Phoenix legal community are adjunct faculty members, serving as:
    * Mentors for each skills section
    * Substantive lecturers for each week's lecture session
    * Skills session evaluators for each of the 13 weeks
    * Judges and witnesses for each section's trial