Intensive Advocacy Program

This exciting program, open to students from all U.S. law schools, features more than 80 hours of lectures, demonstrations, and practice workshops. Participants earn three units and significant real-world experience, guided by skilled practitioners from around the country in the art of advocacy.

2020 Session:
May 18 to May 30, 2020 
Deadline to Apply:
USF students: April 3, 2020
(non-USF students: April 26, 2020)
APPLY TO IAP

In addition to teaching and modeling, the IAP faculty provide 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 program is designed after the renowned NITA (National Institute of Trial Lawyers Association) attorney training 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.

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.

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

While the program is advertised in different ways, USF students often find their way to IAP through enthusiastic recommendations by their peers who are former participants. Many IAP alumni consider it one of the best classes they had in law school.

I can honestly say after IAP, the fire and love for the law has been reignited in me. When I looked at all the attorneys in the room, I was consistently reminded why I pull all-nighters and beat myself up over the 1L USF curve, why I take out loans and spend money on this JD education, why I commute hours a day to make it to class... and that “why” is because I want to be like the attorneys in the room. "

GABRIELLA TRAPANI ‘21

“This program taught me that great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it… I was surprised by the amount of invaluable feedback and one-to-one mentorship that I and every student received from the IAP faculty. The faculty consists of trial lawyers and judges from all over the nation, and the professional connections that I made when working so closely with them are extremely beneficial.”

DANIELLE POTESTIO ‘20

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

"The great feedback I received from prestigious judges and attorneys from all over the country, who sat down with me one on one to give me critical feedback on how to improve as a legal advocate, was priceless. These interactions gave me the confidence to not be afraid of public speaking and improve myself by speaking in public in a classroom setting, at networking events, or even in front of the mirror!"

— AILAKHUAGBON YVETTE OSUMAH ’17

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