University of Pittsburgh

Advanced Family Law Advocacy

Catalog Number: 5611
3.0 Credits
Lecture
Priority: Limited Enrollment - 3rd Year Priority
Offering Frequency: Every year
Catalog Requirements: "W" Writing, Professional Skills.

Much of the modern practice of Family Law involves litigation. From routine contested motions to complex equitable distribution and custody trials, the field of Family Law has seen a dramatic increase in the time the practicing family lawyer spends in the courtroom. Very often the family lawyer is faced with complex litigation that involves the direct and cross examination of expert witnesses and trial techniques and strategies molded well in advance of trial with the assistance of a child psychologist expert. In addition, "motions practice," arguing important discovery or interim issues that effect custody and equitable distribution cases, is an important, if not critical aspect of the practice of family law.

We will follow hypothetical cases of families whose contentious divorce and custody issues must be tried to conclusion in non-jury mock trials. The students, working in small teams, will interview, counsel and prepare their role playing "client" for trials, develop trial strategy, engage in pretrial preparation, meet with and prepare expert witnesses for direct and cross examination and finally, try various issues to conclusion. The expert witnesses will be actual, highly experienced experts in various areas of valuation and custody. Students will be expected to prepare written trial materials. One class will be specifically devoted to arguing a motion against opposing counsel on a discovery issue. The student will be asked to prepare a motion and a supporting brief on the subject issue to be addressed before the motion's court judge.

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