Intensive Communication Skills for Lawyers

Credits: 1.00
Faculty: Lola Cohen

When delivering a closing argument at trial or at the negotiating table, successful lawyers need some of the same performance skills used by actors: both the lawyer and the actor must capture and control the attention of his or her audience. Through an intensive series of exercises, students learn that performance skills basic to acting including relaxation, concentration and motivation, when incorporated into legal work will significantly increase the likelihood of the message being conveyed in the most effective manner. Communication skills developed in this course include: how to transition gracefully and effectively to the behavior and demeanor most apropos to the litigation and negotiation strategies; how to convey meaning to the physical objects of the trial; practicing and delivering openings and closing arguments, objections, and other speech acts convincingly with power, clarity, and conviction; and expanding strategic options employing an enhanced range and subtlety of advocacy skills. Discussions will focus on the exercises and how to apply the techniques learned in class to prepare for court or other presentations, meeting, and appearances. This course meets for three and a half hours on four consecutive days. Due to the intensive scheduling of the course, attendance at all class meetings in mandatory.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:

Pass/fail only. Students graded on in-classroom presentations.