When Ron Clark, A Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at Seattle University School of Law asked us to blog about his “movie” for Legal Stage we were intrigued. He said, “Write about Freck Point Trial and Garage Movie – you’ll find it in the back of the third edition of the law school textbook I co-authored, Trial Advocacy: Planning, Analysis and Strategy.”
What a great education tool for law professors and law students!
You know how in most trial advocacy courses, you have a professor lecturing about various aspects of trial advocacy and students learning by doing? Can you imagine if you added to this, students also getting to watch a whole trial, conducted by top notch trial attorneys, demonstrating everything from style, to substance, strategy and to how to use up to the minute technology in the courtroom? Can you imagine as a law school professor, getting to comment on all the aspects of trial as demonstrated by this great repertory company of your colleagues? From Voire Dire through Closing Argument, students and professors can watch and discuss every aspect of this “Trial Demonstration Movie.”
I was clearly impressed by many things about this great educational tool. For example, The Voire Dire demonstration showed many commonly asked courtroom Voire Dire questions. But what I really enjoyed was the true to life facial responses of the jurors when thinking about the questions. Most attorneys I know say that the first time they really understood that jurors need to be “read” was the first time they struck a jury.
I also was really impressed by the attorneys “outside the courtroom” discussing their strategy, their feelings about the judge, etc. with the “interviewer.” Again, this gives the student a real life experience and the professor the opportunity to comment on that real life experience.
Finally, I want to point out that every single attorney doing the demonstrations during this “mega” trial had a completely different style and demeanor. How great is this both for the student to learn that there are “many” ways to be a great lawyer, and for a professor to be able to comment on various styles. We meet every stripe of trial lawyer from one who loves being an intense demonstrative storyteller, to another who is just friendly and relaxed and a “best friend”, to another who is respectful and business like, to yet another who is the essence of “reason.” Brilliant.
It is clear that this isn’t a movie made by professionals from Hollywood. But it is more than abundantly clear that this is a film made by legal professionals who want students to get a leg up on what the real world is all about. I highly recommend it.
TIP: If you are teaching trial advocacy, think way outside the box!