Courses

Advanced Appellate Brief Writing: The appellate brief may be the most important aspect of appellate advocacy. Indeed, over 70% of the cases in the Fifth Circuit are decided on the briefs alone, without oral argument. This course will therefore examine the characteristics of persuasive brief writing. Students will learn the principles of effective written advocacy and will practice those principles by drafting several critical components of an appellate brief. Each student will receive constructive feedback regarding his or her written work, and well-executed student writing samples may be circulated among the class for discussion and instruction.

Note: Priority in enrollment will be given to students who have participated in moot court or trial advocacy competition involving brief writing or who have completed a skills course or externship involving appellate or trial advocacy and requiring brief or judicial-opinion writing. Space permitting, students who have other relevant experience involving appellate litigation or trial advocacy will also be considered.
Faculty: Michelle S. Stratton (’09), Baker Botts L.L.P., Houston


The Care and Feeding of Expert Witnesses: This course will explore the issues surrounding the use of experts in litigation. Students will evaluate and discuss the need for experts, types of experts required, issues involving expert reports, and procedural, discovery and trial issues involving experts. Students will be required to evaluate these issues in light of various factual scenarios. Students will also be required to prepare for and participate in daily discussions regarding the various topics and will also be required to pass a short exam.

Note: Preference to students with a Demonstrated Interest in Litigation
Faculty: James P. Roy (’76), Managing Member, and Brian Colomb, (’98) Member, Domengeaux Wright Roy & Edwards, L.L.C., Lafayette, LA


The Ins & Outs of Mid-Size Firm Practice: This course will give you real-life insight into the workings of a mid-sized regional law firm with offices in three cities and two states. Students will be exposed to internal concepts of governance/management, law firm technology, marketing, finance, billing, human resources, administration and inter-partner /shareholder relationships. Concepts such as billings, collections, origination, realization, laterals, methods of compensation, leverage, teamwork, training and  mentoring of associates, marketing, overhead, file assignments, partnership/shareholder agreements, succession plans, etc. will be discussed in an informative, hands-on and interactive manner.

Faculty: Edwin G. Preis, Jr. (’72), Founding Partner, Preis & Roy PLC and Robert M. Kallam (’90), Partner, Preis & Roy PLC, Lafayette, LA


Lawyering and the Legislative Process: The course will provide an introduction to the role of lawyers in the public policy and legislative process. It will be geared toward federal legislation and Congress. It will include two sections, one focused on Congress and the mechanics of the legislative process. Understanding the legislative process is essential to advising clients on public policy and legislative issues. The second part of the course will use a current major policy issue to provide students the opportunity for hands-on role playing on behalf of clients with different policy positions. This will involve researching the issue, preparing testimony in support of the client’s policy position and drafting concise legislation to accomplish the client’s public policy goal. Student teams will present and defend their policy position and legislative draft. Students will also have a short multiple choice exam.

Note: Preference to students with Demonstrated Interest in Legislative Process
Faculty: Mark D. Boudreaux (’84), Senior Director, Federal Relations ExxonMobil Corporation, Washington, D.C.


Managing the Personal Injury Case: This course combines substantive and procedural personal injury law with the essential steps and elements of pursuing or defending a claim for personal injury damages – from client intake and case evaluation to settlement or trial. Topics may include any or all of the following: the essential elements of a personal injury case: parties, liabilities, damages, forms, documents, and witnesses; obtaining police, medical, and employment records necessary for calculation and proof of liability and damages; locating, retaining and preparing experts and their reports for case evaluation, assistance, and trial testimony; gathering information and preparing settlement proposals and demands; and preparing and presenting witnesses, exhibits, and documentation to support or defend a case at trial.

Note: Preference to students with Demonstrated Interest in Litigation
Faculty: Edward J. Walters, Jr. (‘75), Partner, Walters, Papillion, Thomas, Cullens, LLC; Darrel Papillion (’94), Partner, Walters, Papillion, Thomas, Cullens, LLC, Baton Rouge, LA


Navigating the Complex Regulatory World of Offshore Leases: This course will focus on compliance with the statutory and regulatory regime governing the ownership and operation of offshore oil and gas leases granted and administered by the United States Department of the Interior. Students will be tasked with providing advice on practical issues that frequently arise (e.g., bidding on leases, application of adjacent state law, imposition of penalties for regulatory violations), as well as drafting pleadings necessary to defend against administrative findings of noncompliance. Reading materials will include relevant statutory and regulatory provisions, select decisions by federal courts, and sample pleadings.

Prerequisite: Students must have successfully completed or be currently enrolled in Mineral Law or Provide Evidence of Experience Demonstrating Familiarity With Oil and Gas Law or Mineral Law
Faculty: Jonathan A. Hunter (’87), Shareholder, Liskow & Lewis, New Orleans, LA


Negotiating and Drafting a Commercial Lease: This course will explore the key provisions of commercial lease agreements, including in-line and big box shopping center leases, office leases and warehouse leases. Emphasis will be on national leasing standards while noting Louisiana peculiarities. Students will undertake the alternating roles of landlord’s counsel and tenant’s counsel, and be required to analyze, draft and negotiate in class major lease provisions from their respective client’s perspective. For the final project, students will be required to revise hypothetical lease clauses on behalf of a tenant and a landlord.

Prerequisite: Students must have successfully completed or be currently enrolled in Sales and Real Estate Transactions
Faculty: Sterling Scott Willis (’83), Partner, Fishman Haygood Phelps Walmsley Willis & Swanson, L.L.P., New Orleans, LA


The Selection and Persuasion of Your Jury: This course will review the significant role of juries in the American system of justice, explore the diversity, opinions, and backgrounds of the respective jurors who make up those juries, and finally consider the varied methods of selecting and persuading those jurors in a civil trial. Students will study and discuss sample voir dire examinations and jury interrogatories, and they will observe and evaluate video presentations of voir dire examinations, closing arguments, and jury deliberations from an actual mock trial. Students will be required to draft and explain voir dire questions based upon a hypothetical civil case. For the final project, students will be required to draft a closing argument to a hypothetical jury in a hypothetical civil case provided by the instructor. Students will also be required to pass a short exam.

Note: Preference to students with Demonstrated Interest in Litigation
Faculty: Timothy F. Daniels (’85), Member, Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore LLC, New Orleans, LA


The Strategy and Drafting of Dispositive Motions: The great majority of lawsuits are never tried. They are resolved by either settlement or motion practice. Favorable settlements are often set up by strategically filed and well developed motions. This course will examine the fundamentals of developing and filing dispositive motions. The course will review the available state and federal pre-trial motions including FRCP 12 (motion to dismiss) and 56 (motion for summary judgment), LCCP arts. 921-934 (Exceptions), and 961-971 (motion to strike, motion for judgment on the pleadings and motion for summary judgment). The course will also address the role of discovery that can be used to support motions and exceptions. For the final project in lieu of an examination, students will be required to draft a motion for summary judgment based on a hypothetical provided by the instructor.

Note: Preference to students with Demonstrated Interest in Litigation
Faculty: R. Patrick Vance (’75), Partner and Leader, Business & Commercial Litigation Practice Group, Jones Walker, New Orleans, LA


Why Should the Judge Listen to Me? What Makes Judges Read and Hear What Lawyers Say: Unless your motion, brief in support, or argument catches and holds the judge’s attention, the outcome is predictable. Writing a motion or brief that a judge reads carefully and thinks about, or making an argument that a judge listens to attentively, is not sufficient to win, but it is necessary. This course focuses on the elements and skills that help get and keep the trial judge’s attention, whether the judge is an arbitrator, an administrative law judge, a state trial judge, or a federal bankruptcy, magistrate, or district judge. The focus will be on the elements and skills of effective written and oral advocacy that apply to all lawyers whose practice includes some kind of litigation, no matter what subject area or type of trial forum.

Note: Preference to Students with a Demonstrated Interest in Litigation
Faculty: Honorable Elizabeth Foote (’78), United States District Judge, Western District of Louisiana; Honorable Lee H. Rosenthal, United States District Judge, Southern District of Texas


Workshop on Effective Mediation Advocacy Skills: This course will explore negotiation and mediation principles to assist the students in developing the skills needed to be an effective advocate at a mediation. Each day there will be a role playing exercise in which the students will practice the techniques discussed that day. The final project will require that the students work in teams of two and negotiate a settlement of a law suit, either with or without mediation.

Faculty: Lynne Rothschild Stern, Principal, Louisiana Mediation and Arbitration (LAMA)