For almost 30 years, members of Fordham Law School’s clinical faculty have helped train newly minted New York City Law Department litigators to be effective trial attorneys, with the most recent multiday program occurring Jan. 9–13 at the Law School. Led by Clinical Professor Michael W. Martin ’92, director of clinical education and co-author of the second edition of Trial Practice, and Adam Shlahet ’02, director of the Brendan Moore Trial Advocacy Center, Fordham oversaw the intensive trial simulation program for 48 legal professionals who represent New York City and its agencies in a variety of civil litigation matters.
During the 5-day program, participants learned the necessary skill sets—openings, closings, voir dire, direct and cross examinations, exhibit admission, use of objections, and more—through a series of simulations. The training culminated on Jan. 13 with 12 full-trial simulations that included witnesses, jurors, and, in each trial, two pairs of lawyers facing off under the watchful eyes of two judges, who offered critical feedback at the trial’s close.
“The leadership of the NYC Law Department should be commended for their commitment to advocacy training,” said Shlahet. “When you combine the enthusiasm of the participants with the world-class faculty we’ve assembled at Fordham, great things happen. We are proud to work with these fine attorneys as they develop the skills they need to represent the City of New York at the highest level.”
While Martin has overseen the program for more than 15 years, the city’s wish to hold multiple weeklong programs per year, coupled with the Law School’s recent hiring of Shlahet to run the Brendan Moore Trial Advocacy Center, means the expanded program now has a natural home in the center. The program reconvenes this coming July when 64 of the city’s aspiring trial lawyers again seek to improve their skills under the guidance of Fordham’s experts.