Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Criminal Litigation in Practice

537 | 2.0 credits


Criminal Litigation in Practice will cover virtually all of the stages of a criminal case – from the probable cause hearing through the sentencing hearing. The focus of this course will be on state practice. Each class will include a brief lecture about the relevant substantive law applicable to the particular stage at issue. The following class will be oral advocacy exercises involving factual hypotheticals implicating the relevant substantive law principles. The exercises will require each student to play the role of either defense counsel or prosecutor. Several times during the course the students will be required to submit written motions and memos in support of their legal position as well as orally advocate a legal point in a precise and persuasive manner.

The goal of Criminal Litigation in Practice is to provide students with the basic skills to use substantive law in the courtroom through persuasive writing and oral advocacy. The exercises will hone the students’ advocacy skills, specifically the students’ ability to marshal the relevant legal principles as applied to the factual hypotheticals – a skill that all litigators need to master in effective legal advocacy concerning substantive law issues.

Combining written work with speech and debate skills in the context of legal advocacy will be the focus of this course.


Should have previously taken, or be concurrently enrolled in, Evidence and Constitutional Criminal Procedure.