Intensive Advocacy Program

The Intensive Advocacy Program (IAP) is a two-week intensive course open to all U.S. law students, focusing on litigation and trial techniques and strategies. The program brings seasoned lawyers and judges from across the nation to train law students in the art of advocacy.

This exciting program, open to students from all U.S. law schools, features more than 80 hours of lectures, demonstrations, and practice workshops with experienced practitioners from across the country.

At the conclusion of the program each student conducts a mock jury trial. The student lawyers work in teams of two and try either a civil or criminal case before a judge and jury. The pressures and challenges of trial practice give students the opportunity to bring together all of the acquired knowledge and skills developed in the various workshops over the course of the program.Law students conduct portions of a simulated deposition and trial, receive critique, and review their recorded performances under the guidance of experienced faculty members. Generally, each classroom has eight students and one or two faculty members. Each student is assigned a case file and a problem to use for his or her presentation. The IAP faculty provide lectures and demonstrations, as well as suggestions that will immediately improve the students' skills. Topics covered include taking and defending depositions, evidence, direct and cross-examination of witnesses, direct and cross-examination of experts, jury selection, opening statements, and closing arguments.

The Intensive Advocacy Program is useful for all students, whether you intend to enter the courtroom or not. The purpose of the program is to develop skills in gathering information, marshalling facts, making persuasive arguments, and making real life court appearances. Most importantly, this course teaches students what to expect after graduating from law school and beginning their legal careers.

Student Testimonials

Photo of Katie MoranImagine waking up after 14 days with two trials under your belt and loads of personalized feedback on depositions, opening statements, direct and cross examination, objections, entering evidence, and closing arguments. That’s exactly what the Intensive Advocacy Program provides—plus, each student makes professional connections with the judges and lawyers who serve as faculty during the program. It was an invaluable experience."

Katie Moran '16

“IAP was an outstanding way to learn practical legal skills from prominent USF alums and attorneys. After completing IAP I felt well-prepared to speak with practicing attorneys about their cases and to understand the strategies behind each decision being made in preparation for trial. I would highly recommend that every student participate in such a valuable course.”

Mark Griffin ’14

IAP was by far the best experience of my law school career. This class embodied hands-on learning, with the students on our feet doing drills and workshops implementing what we had learned from short lectures. This was about learning through doing, something most law school classes don't offer.”

— Cassandra Jenecke ’13

“Even if you don't intend on being a litigator, the takeaways from IAP are invaluable. Since taking the program, I am more confident in interviews, public speaking, analyzing issues, and understanding courtroom procedure. Without question, no class on campus will teach you as much about yourself as a future lawyer than the Intensive Advocacy Program.”

— Joseph Lewis ’17