This simulation course will help you develop the written and oral advocacy skills you'll need to be an effective appellate litigator (and which are highly desirable for many other forms of legal practice as well). You'll learn how to prepare and write an appellate brief and how to prepare and deliver an oral argument in court. While at times we will discuss general principles of persuasion, the course will focus more on nitty-gritty matters such as how to organize an argument; how to write effectively using well-constructed paragraphs and clear and crisp sentences; how to prepare for and handle oral questioning; and when if ever to adroitly split an infinitive or to end a sentence with a preposition you are enamored with.
Class sessions will include presentations, interactive conversations, in-class exercises, and peer (and my) review of student work. Over the course of the semester, you'll produce several drafts of a brief or portions thereof, focusing both on merits arguments and on the other components of a complete appellate brief. Occasionally you may be assigned other short writing exercises, either for class time or for homework. You will work independently on some projects and collaborate with classmates on others. You'll also present two or more oral arguments during class time.
The simulation exercises will be based on a mock appellate case. For most and perhaps all assignments, I'll provide you with copies of court decisions, rules, and statutes deemed relevant to the mock case; little outside research will be required. This course will demand a good deal of your time and attention throughout the semester, which I expect will be repaid by lots of constructive feedback.
Your work will be assessed on the quality of your written projects, your oral presentations, and your class participation in general.
For details on class times, days of the week, instructors, and grading and exam details, please view the Michigan Law Class Schedule.