S. Thinking Like a Litigator

Course Information

Course Number
Curriculum Level
Areas of Study
Civil Procedure and Dispute Resolution, Legal Profession and Professional Responsibility
Additional Attributes
Experiential Credit

Section 001 Information


Section Description

This course focuses on litigation strategy. (The course does NOT teach trial advocacy skills.)

We will work with a dozen hypothetical cases, often using actors to bring the cases to life. Students will assess the strengths and weaknesses of each case, identify possible outcomes, define what a "win" would be, and try to develop "winning" strategies and themes that can be applied to pleadings, motion practice, discovery, experts, settlement and trial. No text is used and no reading is required other than the case materials.

Students will actually do some of the things that litigators do day-to-day, such as reporting to more senior lawyers, advising clients, drafting pleadings, planning discovery, arguing discovery motions, taking (very short) depositions, evaluating experts and settling claims. Every student will "perform" about five times. No legal research will be required, although students will have to take into account the relevant substantive law (mostly contract and tort).

Students are expected to attend and actively participate in all class sessions. Every week, students will submit a very short comment about newly introduced cases. Students will also write five short papers. In lieu of a final exam, students will write a long paper about a hypothetical case. Grades are based on (1) class participation, (2) the weekly comments, (3) the five short papers, and (4) the take-home final exam/paper.

School Year & Semester
Fall 2023
JGH 807
Class meets on
  • Wednesday
4:20 pm - 6:10 pm
Method of Evaluation
J.D Writing Credit?

Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of a case, and in light of that evaluation, understanding what would constitute a "win."
  • Developing a strategy to enhance the chance of "winning."
  • Developing themes that support that strategy.
  • Developing legal theories and facts to support them.
  • Planning discovery that supports the strategy.
  • Negotiating and mediating settlements.
  • Communicating with more senior lawyers and advising clients.

Course Limitations

Instructor Pre-requisites
Instructor Co-Requisites
Recommended Courses
Other Limitations