This five-day training will focus on the skills of oral advocacy, as practiced in the courtroom through trials or arguments on motions.  The students will “learn by doing,” through the practice of various oral advocacy skills utilizing simulated legal problems.  At the end of this highly interactive training, the participants will know how to analyze a case and develop a legal theory, understand how to be an effective questioner of witnesses, and be able to make an oral argument at either the trial or appellate level.  Lectures will be utilized, but limited, as the focus will be on giving the participants the opportunity to perform the oral advocacy skills, and receive constructive feedback.  

In addition, students will have the oral advocacy skills needed to compete in The Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition, which is an advocacy competition for law students. In the Jessup Competition, teams of law students compete against one another through the presentation of oral and written pleadings to address timely issues of public international law in the context of a hypothetical legal dispute between nations,  that has been submitted for adjudication to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. Students research and prepare arguments for both sides of the dispute, drafting and editing written pleadings, called “memorials,” and practicing oral presentations.


Marcia Levy is the Director of Externships and Field-Based Learning/Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School in New York City.  She is an expert in trial advocacy training, having practiced as a trial lawyer in both criminal and civil matters, in state and federal court, and taught trial advocacy to lawyers all over the world.  She was a Clinical Law Professor and Director of Clinics for over 15 years and taught her students how to become effective advocates for their clients by supervising their work on real cases.  

Class Format

The class will consist of some lectures, but most of the work will be by the students as they prepare for and perform oral advocacy skills using simulated case scenarios.


Some readings

Case files

Class Time

9:30 – 3:30

Day One


I will give an overview of the system of oral advocacy in the United States.  Will seek comparisons to the Saudi System. We will discuss how a case begins and the steps a lawyer takes to prepare a case.

Step 1: Learning about the case:  Client Interviewing

Active Learning Component: Interviewing Role Play


We will discuss how to analyze a case from a factual and legal perspective

Active Learning Component: Painting Game

Step 2: Introduction of our Case Problem

Active Learning Component: Case Theory and Legal Analysis in our Case Problem

Day Two


Step 3:  Witness Examination and Effective Questioning Techniques.  We will learn about direct examination and how the use of open ended questions enables the client or other “friendly” witnesses to tell their story.  

Active Learning Component: Direct Examination Drills


Active Learning Component: Direct Examination: Performance in Problem One.

Day Three


Step 3 Continued:  This morning we will focus on questioning an adverse witness through the technique of cross examination

Active Learning Component: Cross Examination Drill


Active Learning Component: Cross Examination: Performance in Problem One

Step 4: The Lawyer tells the Story: Opening Statement/Closing Argument

Day Four


Active Learning: Students work together to prepare for trial


Active Learning: Mini Trial

Day Five


Appellate Argument and Motion Practice – how is it different than trial practice?  Learning to be an effective communicator in motion practice


Active Learning: Sample motions from Jessup Competition.  Practicing arguing motions

Reflections on what has been learned about Oral Advocacy.