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 and communication skills used by actors: both the lawyer and the actor must capture and control "at will" the attention of his or her audience. Through an intensive series of sense memory and improvisation exercises students learn that communication 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 are learned by students through their selecting and presenting an opening statement or closing argument before the Class. The work is critiqued by me and a re-presentation is given by the student which serves as an opportunity to improve on their work which is essential to the practical learning process. The students learn 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 and objections 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, meetings 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 participation and presentations.