Advocacy refers to the act of arguing in support of a client. At Mitchell Hamline, we train students to tell clients’ stories in ways that matter in the current legal system. Education in the skills of advocacy pervades the Mitchell Hamline curriculum. Those skills are at the core of the three primary relationships involved in the practice of law: with clients, with opposing lawyers, and with decision makers.
In our Advocacy coursework, students hone their representation skills. They practice the deposition, direct examination, cross-examination, closing argument and final trial skills learned in Mitchell Hamline’s high-tech courtrooms, with performances videotaped for further critiques by experienced lawyers and judges.
Students get the opportunity to reflect upon and practice the essential skill of advocating responsibly on behalf of clients. They learn to think and act as a lawyer advocate, using trial and appellate courts as settings for simulated exercises.
Students learn to question witnesses in a variety of settings, including depositions and trial, to use facts and law to tell a compelling story on behalf of their client, to present trial and appellate arguments, and to conduct a bench trial or administrative hearing. Students also develop their research and writing skills and master the special art of composing a persuasive appellate brief.
At Mitchell Hamline, students learn how to advocate in a variety of professional settings after law school. Many students will practice law and represent clients before judges, jurors, and arbitrators. Others will advocate as transactional lawyers, corporate counsel, government attorneys, lobbyists, non-profit advisors, politicians, or other professionals. The skills and theories students learn in Advocacy transfer readily to all of these situations.
Full-time faculty coordinate the coursework, working with practicing lawyers and judges who serve as adjunct professors and teach classes.