Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Brand New Editions of Pretrial and Trial Advocacy Books


Nothing makes us happier than the release of a newly published edition of an advocacy book, and Aspen Publishing has just launched the 5th edition of Trial Advocacy.

The three of us--Marilyn Berger, John Mitchell and I--have been at this for some time, and when we set out our goal for both Pretrial and Trial Advocacy books was to impart real-world approaches to litigation. We also wanted to provide not only a textbook but also, thanks to Marilyn’s expertise in filmmaking, demonstration videos (such as a trial demonstration video and videos showing how to take and defend depositions) and practical experiences through role-play assignments (such as performing trial activities from jury selection through closing argument).

Additional materials for performance are an inclusive aspect of the books: realistic case files containing documents, witness statements, photographs, and so forth. Teacher materials for both books include sample syllabuses and an extensive Teacher Manual for both Pretrial and Trial courses.

It’s great to see how the books have progressed, keeping pace with the best in litigation advocacy. Together we have worked to make sure the new editions are right up to date, for examples covering changes in response to COVID-19, electronically stored information (ESI), trial technology, and persuasive litigation visuals.  Most exciting is that new editions are now available on the popular Aspen Publishing CasebookConnect online platform.

Each book and companion materials can be used for a stand-alone Trial Advocacy or Pretrial Advocacy course, or they may be paired together and taught over, for instance, two semesters because they have a common nomenclature as well as the same analytical framework and civil and criminal casefiles.

If you are teaching trial advocacy or want a complete resource about trial advocacy, this book may be for you. The best way to decide on a textbook is to see for yourself. If you teach trial advocacy, to get obtain a complimentary review copy of Trial Advocacy click here  for a complimentary review copy of Pretrial Advocacy, click here

We truly hope that you like the new editions and will adopt one or both. If you have any questions, contact me at clarkrh@comcast.net.

Monday, May 22, 2023

More Advocacy Tools Offered


A most exciting addition to the new editions of Trial Advocacy 5th Ed. and Pretrial Advocacy 6th Ed. is that they are now available with the popular Aspen Publishing CasebookConnect online platform. CasebookConnect provides many supplemental materials. Let’s take a look at some of them in the Trial Advocacy CasebookConnect platform. 

First on the CasebookConnect Platform is the Professor or instructor materials that are only accessible to the instructor and will assist the instructor in teaching, and these materials include a Teacher’s Manual and Actor’s Guide that contains role-play instructions that the teacher can give to students who will play a roles in a performance  assignments, such as instructions to a student who is assigned to play the role of a witness during a cross-examination exercise. 

Following the Professor Materials is a Welcome Tab with resources welcoming students to CasebookConnect and its functions. Next is Cases and Assignments Tab where the assignments for student performances are located. By clicking on the Case Files Tab, student can access the full case files for both the criminal and civil cases that are utilized for the performance assignments.

Unique to the Pretrial and Trial Advocacy books are movies that show how to perform everything from taking and defending a deposition to closing argument. Under the Movies Tab in the Trial Advocacy book’s CasebookConnect, students can access the following: an animation of an aviation crash; visuals in a settlement documentary; a video on implicit bias; and both a full movie of a demonstration trial as well as movie clips demonstrating trial advocacy skills.

Under the next Additional Materials Tab are a variety of supplemental materials, such as juror questionnaires, trial brief, motions and more.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Remember the Jury: Cross-Examining Trump’s Claimed Rape Victim Jean Carroll


Donald Trump's lawyer, Joseph Tacopino was tasked with the cross-examination of 79-year old Jean Carroll who claims that Donald Trump raped her in a Manhattan department store in 1996. Tacopino attacked her credibility contending that she came forward in 2019 because she did not like his politics and wanted to sell copies of her book. That’s fair game.

A cross-examiner needs to beware of the different expectations of each of the audiences the cross-examiner is playing to during the cross-examination. The cross-examiner needs to be constantly aware of the jurors’ role in applying the law to the facts as they find and reach a verdict. The jurors’ job is to determine the truth, and the cross-examiner's demeanor and conduct should be designed to help the jurors meet their responsibilities.

While it may be satisfying to the cross-examiner Tacopino to challenge Carroll, the real test is what the jury thinks. Jurors may perceive his conduct in a negative light—as an abuse of her—particularly if they're not convinced that she deserved it. If she were patently lying, the situation shifts in favor of a rigorous cross-examination.

In the aftermath of his cross questioning her about why she didn’t act the way some might think a rape victim should—scream, call the police and so on, the jury will hear from two other women who say Trump raped them, Trump’s own words about how he groped women, and expert testimony that women don’t react as Tacopino suggests. And, this is not a he-said-she-said trial because it’s likely Trump won’t testify. The prosecutor’s closing probably will shred any argument by Tacopino to the effect that she wasn’t sexually assaulted.

Defense counsel Tacopino’s approach is a lesson is what not to do—he forgot his audience. For instance, Tacopino pressed Carroll about why she did not scream for seek help when Trump attacked her in the department store. Carroll's reaction was to respond to the suggestion that rape victims are supposed to act in a certain way was incorrect by saying that such thinking deters women from coming forward. She said, “I'm telling you, he raped me, whether I screamed or not.” News reports say that her voice rose and broke at this point. It was a step too far on cross.