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Advanced Law Skills Program

University of Richmond School of Law is one of few law schools that offers a second-year of law skills training as part of the required curriculum.

Trial Advocacy

In the fall semester of their second year, all students take Trial Advocacy, which focuses on the skills required of lawyers in the litigation process. Through this course, students learn real-world legal skills during exercises where they act as counsel in litigation settings. For example, students practice arguing motions, taking depositions, and trying a case before a jury.

Trial Advocacy is divided into three parts:

  1. The first six weeks cover the skills used in the process of case initiation, factual investigation, and discovery in civil litigation. Students review the written tools of the discovery process: interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and requests for admissions. Students negotiate discovery disputes and conduct hearings on discovery-related motions. Students take depositions.
  2. All students take part in an intensive trial advocacy workshop, which takes place over a weekend in October. In the workshop, students watch demonstrations, then practice the basic skills of trial advocacy, including the opening statement, closing argument, direct and cross-examination, impeachment, use of exhibits, and demonstrative evidence.
  3. Students conclude the semester by preparing for and conducting a jury trial. Every student serves as trial counsel in a two-person trial team.

Writing In Practice

The final Lawyering Skills requirement is a Writing in Practice course. Writing in Practice Courses provide students with additional instruction and practice drafting documents that lawyers routinely draft, such as briefs, contracts, regulatory comments and the like. Although each Writing in Practice offers writing instruction, each class focuses on a different area of substantive law, thus allowing students to gain additional writing experience while pursuing topics that most interest them. The full menu of courses is available on our Curriculum page.

Lawyering Skills

For a description of the first-year Lawyering Skills program, refer to the first-year curriculum.