On Friday, September 15th, John Donley of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, delivered a presentation on Courtroom Evidence Basics to the second- and third-year students in the College of Law’s Trial Advocacy course. Donley’s informative presentation combined an abundance of tips and techniques, skillfully illustrated by his firsthand experiences from nearly 30-years of practice. Donley deftly covered three vital subjects that will serve the students well as they progress in the practice of law – making evidentiary objections, admitting exhibits into evidence and impeaching witnesses with said evidence. Donley’s presentation provided an excellent opportunity for students to learn practical litigation skills from a talented and experienced attorney.
"Presentations such as Donley’s are a critical component to the Trial Advocacy Program achieving its principal goal of transforming law students into lawyers with the skills they need to excel in the legal profession," said Professor Catherine Stahl, Director of the Trial Advocacy Program.
The Trial Advocacy Program at the University of Illinois College of Law builds a bridge between the College and the real challenges students encounter when they begin their new professional roles after graduation. In the core Trial Advocacy courses, students develop the skills needed for success as trial lawyers in a "learning by doing" environment. As part of the curriculum, each week a Trial Advocacy topic is introduced in a large group setting and then is demonstrated by faculty members, as well as guest instructors and panelists selected from leading practitioners in the field. A second small group session follows later in the week and allows the students to practice their newly learned skills under the watchful eyes of members of the Trial Advocacy faculty, representing a combination of attorneys in private practice and public service, as well as sitting state court judges. The goal of the Trial Advocacy program is for students to be "practice ready" – no matter what paths they choose to follow professionally – non-profit, public sector or firm practice.
The Trial Advocacy Program encourages alumni to come back to campus and share their practical advice and experiences as an Illinois lawyer. The program also needs volunteer coaches to support Trial Team members with group practices and one-on-one training during which students fine-tune their skills. Learn more about the Trial Advocacy Program on our website, or reach out directly to Professor Catherine Stahl for additional information.