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Trial Advocacy Basics, Third Edition

  • Molly Townes O'Brien
  • Gary S. Gildin
Series / NITA
Teaching Materials

Whether you are preparing for your first trial or your hundredth, Trial Advocacy Basics is the book for you. More than just a courtroom primer for novice and experienced trial attorneys, this completely revised edition focuses on what makes jurors tick, and how to effectively communicate the story of your case to both the jury and the judge. From case analysis and theory through cross-examination, impeachment, and closing arguments, Molly Townes O'Brien and Gary Gildin provide cutting-edge perspectives on how jurors think and how to optimize both the style and substance of your trial practice. O’Brien and Gildin relate practical advice on every stage of trial preparation and practice in a straightforward manner, using memorable examples and anecdotes, colorful quotes, and humor to highlight each lesson.

New to the Third Edition:

  • A chapter that introduces a new approach to aligning the substance of cases with contemporary findings from neuroscience and cognitive psychology of how the brain makes decisions.
  • A more consistent emphasis across the chapters on the imperative of using the elements of story and stakes to calibrate the substance of a case to how the brain of the finder of fact—jury or judge—will reach a decision.
  • Advice about adapting individual advocacy skills to the remote and hybrid proceedings that are likely to be a permanent fixture of courtroom proceedings post-pandemic.

Professors and students will benefit from:

  • A unified approach to crafting the substance of a case and correctly focusing advocacy efforts, founded in contemporary decision science that applies regardless of the facts of the individual case.
  • A systematic approach to each individual advocacy skill, starting with identifying the substantive facts necessary to make a case, proceeding to how best to organizing the facts to maximize understanding and persuasiveness, and finally addressing tactics for delivering the information in court.
  • Advice on adapting advocacy skills to remote proceedings.
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