The University of Cincinnati College of Law offers a general trial practice course every semester, taught by faculty with extensive experience in the courtroom and the classroom. Interdisciplinary insight from communication science, theater, and psychology inform the way we teach trial strategy – how to build a “theory of the case” and shape persuasive narratives through opening and closings statements and witness examination. In addition to thorough grounding in all aspects of trial practice, students receive intensive individual coaching throughout the course.
The fall semester Trial Practice Competition course is designed for trial practice team students, selected through the tryouts the previous spring. This course includes an Ohio fall competition exercise with an eye toward readiness for national competitions in future semesters.
The spring semester course similarly draws upon proven strategies for persuasive trial presentation and provides individual instruction and feedback but does not require participation in an inter-school competition. In some years, the UC College of Law’s trial practice course focuses on criminal defense and prosecution contexts.
UC Law also offers related and advanced courses that teach students how to prepare witnesses, work with experts, and conduct pre-trial discovery.
In 2017, the fall course will be taught by Cincinnati’s Deputy City Solicitor Terrence Nestor, Senior Assistant City Solicitor for Litigation Peter Stackpole, and UC Law Professor of Practice Marjorie Aaron.
Trial Practice Coaches
To prepare for trial practice competitions, our trial team students are coached by outstanding trial lawyers. In recent years, those coaches have included:
- Bill Markovits, Markovits, Stock & DeMarco LLC
- Christopher Stock, Markovits, Stock & DeMarco LLC
- William Blessing, The Blessing Law Firm
- David Blessing, The Blessing Law Firm
- Angie Wallace, The Blessing Law Firm
- Zachary Schaengold, Markovits Stock & DeMarco, LLC. *
- Eric Kmetz, Markovits Stock & DeMarco, LLC. *
- Alex Rodger, Donovan Law
- Melissa Schuett, Staff Attorney, First District Court of Appeals*
- Daniel Haughey, Haughey, Deters & Niehaus LLC
- Christopher Wagner, Ohio Attorney General’s Office
- Anthony Strike, Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office*
- Terrence Nestor, City of Cincinnati Solicitor’s Office
- Shuva Paul, City of Cincinnati Solicitor's Office
- Jennifer Bishop, City of Cincinnati Solicitor's Office
- Lura Teass, (ret.) City of Cincinnati Solicitor's Office
- Mark Vanderlaan, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
- Andrew Barras, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
- Alex Triantafilou, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
- Bryan Pacheco, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
*UC Law Trial Team Alum
Trial Practice Competition Team
Established less than five years ago, the College of Law’s Trial Practice Competition team is selected through a spring semester try-out process lead by current Trial Practice Team members, faculty, and coaches. All new team members are enrolled in the fall semester trial practice competition course, and participate with local attorneys in the CLE series “Actors Direction for Winning Trial Performance,” taught by UC College Conservatory Professor of Drama, Rocco Dal Vera.
After that first semester trial practice course competition, our competition team students receive credit and coaching for participation in larger regional and national trial competitions. Attorney Sheila Smith, an experienced trial attorney, recently retired as employment law litigator (and as a trial practice professor) will join UC Law competition team alumni to coach our student team competitors in the fall. Coaches for spring competitions will include leading trial attorneys from Cincinnati law firms. We often provide experienced actors to work with students on “dramatic polish” before significant competitions.
To further hone their professional and analytical skills, the College offers a significant number of competition teams and journals. Through the Trial Practice Competition Team, College of Law students have participated in the “Case Classic” competition at Case Western Reserve, the ABA Labor and Employment Trial Advocacy Competition, American Association of Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition (STAC), the Texas Young Lawyers Association Competition (TYLA), and the Ohio Attorney General’s Public Interest Law Trial Competition. In 2015-16 and 2016-7, a Cincinnati Law team won at the regional level and advanced TYLA’s National competition.