One of the challenges of teaching trial advocacy in publicly open programs, where any lawyer can attend, is the mix of skill levels among the lawyers seeking training. Our founding idea was to help meet that challenge by making available to the students we teach some high quality, field-tested video and associated web-based instructional materials. This support allows individual students to supplement their training while attending public trial advocacy programs and also to have that support when they return home to their practices. Better trial and deposition advocacy skills promote the competent and ethical representation of client causes.
To present a sufficient volume and range of digital video lecture and demonstration materials to serve the training needs of both practitioners and law students across the important skills required to represent clients competently in litigation matters;
To provide affordable, easy, immediate access to training materials through an efficient, helpful website;
To ensure high quality through care in development and field testing of its products; and
To support public interest lawyers and lawyers with individual public interest cases who may not be able to afford the time or financial resources to attend in-person training programs.
Video is an excellent medium for teaching trial advocacy skills. It provides information in a way that is readily absorbed; it can be interrupted as work-day demands may require; and it can be repeated many times.
With field testing and review, we developed an optimal format for most advocacy skills training online – special made-for-video materials in segments of about fifteen minutes that are tightly focused on one topic using a lecture-and-demonstration format.
The company’s videos are in four series: trials, pre-trial depositions, core skills, and ethics. There are some similarities in examining witnesses at trial and in deposition, but also some important differences. For example, a judge rules on objections immediately in a trial situation, but there is normally no judge present at a deposition, so the witness’s testimony may be taken despite a pending objection. Typically, depositions are taken in advance of trial and more practitioners do deposition work than trial work. Core skills, such as language, listening, movement, and delivery, and ethical considerations guide all that trial lawyers do.
Each presenter in our videos is a trial advocacy skills teacher with long experience doing in-person training. Our presenters have written books, trained judges and lawyers at conferences, and provided in-house training for some of the country’s leading law firms. Our lawyer-demonstrators are outstanding trial lawyers with extensive in-court trial and deposition experience.
We believe in the power of video to help advocates deliver quality services to clients, and the power of quality lawyering to deliver justice. Our website is a work in progress, Have an idea? We want to hear from you.
We are a limited liability corporation with principal business offices at 3986 Michael Rd. N., Ann Arbor, MI 48103. All three of the three founders – Ed Stein, Frank Rothschild, and Deanne Siemer – are long-time trial lawyers who have taught trial advocacy skills for many years starting back with the beginning of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.
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