College of Law > Academics > Experiential Learning > Professional Skills Courses > Litigation Laboratory

Litigation Laboratory (Law 369)

Fall or spring semester: 3 credits

            Litigation Laboratory brings lawyers and students together to analyze, critique and develop the lawyers’ current cases. Practitioners bring live, ongoing cases to class to work collaboratively with students allowing law students to learn and practice pre-trial and trial litigation skills.

            A different lawyer with a different case will participate in most class sessions by bringing pre-trial or trial issues to work through during class. Typically, the lawyer provides materials for the students to review before class. During the weekly class, students will discuss, argue, debate and work with the lawyer to identify and solve hard issues. Students often step into some litigation role: making an argument or examining a live witness in preparation for an upcoming trial. Following each class, students will complete an assignment gauged at providing deeper feedback to the guest lawyers. In classes when lawyers are not included, students will learn practical litigation skills through various advocacy exercises, including a comprehensive litigation ethics exercise. In this innovative class, started at DePaul in 2007, attorneys and students approach various challenging litigation problems including determining best theories and themes for the case, working on opening or closing argument, preparing clients and witnesses for depositions or trial, conceiving and arguing motions, creating exhibits or solving other related issues.

            ​While this course is ideal for students who want to pursue a legal career in criminal or civil litigation, particularly for those interested in trial work, this course would also be valuable to students pursuing transactional law to learn litigation strategies.

The lawyers who bring their cases to DePaul are invariably energized by the Lab experience: 

“I left with a notebook full of ideas for opening, cross examination and voir dire. The feedback and insight regarding facts, issues, and law was invaluable! It really helped us evaluate where our focuses need to be so that we can present the best case on behalf of our client.” 

Students are just as pleased: 

“I may have learned more in this class than in my entire law school career. I felt motivated to put maximum effort into every single week and assignment while never really getting stressed about ‘how I’m doing.’ The course allows students to have a comfortable space to craft arguments, try new things, and work with many real live attorneys on their pending cases. I learned a lot about myself and litigation.” 


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Course Information

Instruction: This course is a combination of lecture, in-class discussion, skills instruction, and client counseling. 
Number of Students: Up to 12 per semester.
711 License: A 711 license is not required to participate in the Litigation Lab.
Prerequisites: None.
Eligibility: Only rising 2L and 3L students are eligible to apply.


Please contact Professor James A. Clark for additional information.