This is a course on litigation tactics and strategies designed to teach students to think like practicing attorneys seeking to maximize their client’s litigation position. It centers on a series of specific litigations that allow students to explore the nature and uses of a wide range of legal rules (jurisdictional, procedural, evidentiary, etc.) and relevant “social” conditions (the nature of the adverse parties, their varied resources, the relevance of geographical location, etc.) as practical tools in litigating cases and placing clients in the most advantageous positions possible. Many of the cases examined are relatively “complex” and involve multiple parties (class actions, joinders, intervention, third-party practice, etc.) and/or multiple courts (change of venue, parallel judicial proceedings, etc.) that allow students to explore the varied potential tactics that the law makes available and to evaluate the particular tactics and strategies that parties have, or might have, employed in specific cases. Toward the end of the semester the course offers students an opportunity to practice what they have learned in a two-week simulated litigation exercise involving a multi-party suit in federal court. Each student either represents one of the parties or plays the role of a federal judge. All receive a case file, and those representing individual clients receive sets of confidential instructions and information from their clients. The exercise proceeds through a series of judicial conferences while the students representing clients take whatever actions they think advisable. At the end of the exercise students acting as judges submit a decision and opinion on all issues before the court, and the students acting as attorneys submit written analyses and evaluations of the various actions taken and tactics employed in the exercise.
Professor Edward Purcell Jr.