In Major League Baseball, it’s called Spring Training. For the National Football League, it’s called “preseason.” At Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Shepard Broad College of Law, students recently had the opportunity to be “primed” for their work as litigating attorneys at the second annual Trial Advocacy Summer Institute (TASI).
The five-day seminar, co-sponsored by the college’s Trial Association and Trial and Appellate Advocacy programs, was focused on both developing and fine tuning the law students’ advocacy and trial skills. The 57 students who participated were commended by Jon Garon, dean of the Shepard Broad College of Law, for the deep commitment they demonstrated by their participation.
“We offered this seminar because of the passion we hold for our students’ success after graduation,” said Garon. “By honing their skills, they are showing that they strive to do their best representing their clients as well as with their craft. Their success will have a positive impact on those around them as well as on their careers as trial lawyers.”
The fast-paced program had the majority of students and instructors—both from the Shepard Broad College of Law and the South Florida legal community—focused on one case file, Nita Liquor Commission v. Jones.
“This program was designed for students with no evidence or trial advocacy background as an introduction to the fundamental skills needed to try cases and analyze legal problems in multiple settings,” said Megan Chaney, J.D., professor of law, director of trial and appellate advocacy.
This year, TASI added a new, advanced curriculum for SBCL students who have already taken both Evidence and Trial Advocacy classes or who have participated in a trial competition. Working with faculty and community-based legal experts, they focused on the murder case, United States v. Horace Wainwright.
“The main objectives of the five-day institute are to educate students on how to deliver opening statements and closing arguments, conduct direct and cross examinations, prepare witnesses and handle basic evidentiary issues,” explained Kristin Desoiza, J.D. candidate 2017 and president of the NSU Trial Association. Desoiza coordinated TASI, along with Professor Chaney and four other J.D. candidates for 2017 – Luis Robayo, Alexandria Romano, Shirley Sharon and Alexander DeFilippo.
Instructors included the following Shepard Broad College of Law professors and volunteers from the legal community–several of which are SBCL alumni: Christine Adler, Berkin Aslan, Jessica Bartell, Jason B. Blank, Ted Daus, Mark Dobson, Alexander Hunt, Sarah Gresham, Gail Levine, Armand Murach, Nathan Nelson, Patyl Oflazian, Bernadine Phillipe, Anthony H. Quackenbush, Yineth Sanchez, Michele Struffolino, Maria Schneider, Brian Valentine, Kathryn Weber and H. Dohn Williams.
In addition to most of the TASI faculty for this year, the following community members and alumni served as volunteer judges during the students’ final trial: Alexander Bekker, G. Ware Cornell, Jr., Jayme Cassidy, Brandon Dinetz, Sarah Gellerman, Brooke Latta, Danielle Lennox, Rae Moshier, Nathan Nelson, Danielle Mousley, Elisabeth Rodriguez, Andrew Sando, John Tolley, Vanessa Tolley, Jason Tom, Kerry Valdez and Steve Yermish.