Some lawyers are natural public speakers and argue for a living. If you are one of them, excellent, this course can improve on your pre-existing talent. If, however, you shy away from public speaking and think that you don’t need advocacy skills, think again. Consider less obvious situations, for example when you might be asked to present at a seminar or persuade recruiters to hire you in a job interview. And most lawyers, at some time in their careers, run the risk of having to appear in court, even if they don’t do so regularly.
Face it, as a lawyer, more than anybody else, you need good oral communication and persuasion skills to succeed, whether you intend to argue in court or in arbitration, persuade a counter-party in a transaction, convince another lawyer to your viewpoint, or sell a presentation to a potential client.
This course aims to develop the English language oral communication and argument skills of law students, practicing lawyers, and other professionals, through study and practice with voice training, understanding and using body language, balancing logic and passion, effective questioning and interviewing, active listening skills, and effectively responding to questions. It will also give you practice in analytical reasoning: spotting and focusing on key legal issues, learning to dismiss extraneous or irrelevant arguments, and predicting what questions a judge or counter-party might ask.
Becoming a good advocate takes years of practice and is a skill that you will develop over time. However, this short but intensive course will jump start the process both through teaching the theory and techniques of effective oral argument, and through giving you a chance to practice, try new techniques, and hone your skills in a fun and relatively risk free environment. This being a practical module, the majority of the time will be devoted to developing skills by utilizing practical exercises, alone or in small groups. Also, a number of debates and moots that involve the whole class will be organized.
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