Advanced Advocacy (Thomson & Schofield)

Course Number
Course Description

The course is ultimately intended to help students learn how to conduct a motion and a trial in a family/civil case.

The instructors have designed case scenarios, which contain factual/legal issues intended to assist in the development of skills necessary for good advocacy.

The course will be primarily delivered at the Law Courts Building in Winnipeg.  This is intended to allow students to experience, and become familiar with, the courtroom environment.

The course will run from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. on Thursdays.  Part of the course will be delivered by lectures and/or demonstrations. Most will involve student advocacy simulations.

It is hoped that classes will progress promptly to “hands on” simulations to encourage first a level of comfort, and then confidence, in presenting a case to a judge in a courtroom, including the examination and cross-examination of witnesses, and the making of submissions, on evidentiary issues and in closing argument.

Course Syllabus winter 2024

Teaching Method

The course will be taught in three-hour sessions – as time-tabled; however, flexibility may be required to accommodate advocacy simulations. The course revolves around students learning by “doing”. It can be anticipated that students will be called upon to engage in five to six simulations and a trial. Instructors will provide feedback. Comments are designed to point to both strengths and weaknesses. Students are expected to be reasonably prepared, in which case it will be a positive experience.
It is understood that there will be some unavoidable duplication, since students are working from the same material. Accordingly, we may ask students to focus on only one aspect of the material prepared for a discrete case scenario. Students ought not to be concerned if instructors focus on only two minutes of a 10 minute simulation. There will be no adverse grading result. The approach is designed to allow the group to discuss what would happen in an actual trial, to discuss the many and diverse ways to effectively advocate a position for a client, and to avoid certain pitfalls and risks. The key is to be able to learn to analyze a case and determine what ought to be conveyed to the judge, and how to do so effectively.

The first classes will be comprised of lectures on advocacy, then demonstrations of basic techniques. Those include: dealing with evidentiary issues, marking an exhibit, creating a record, impeaching a witness, refreshing the memory of a witness, using an examination for discovery transcript, using previously deposed affidavits; and, will highlight the critical differences between conduct of a direct and cross-examination.

There will then be a series of assignments and simulations.

Attendance in class is mandatory. If you are unable to attend a class, it is your responsibility to fill out the self-declaration form and submit it to the Associate Dean ( The Associate Dean’s office will advise your instructors of your absence.


This is a graded three-credit course. The evaluation will be based on the following components:

• 50% class participation and simulations
• 20% motion argument
• 30% full trial

Course Materials

There is no required textbook. Students are advised to refer to various advocacy texts found in the library, most of which are devoted to jury advocacy, and can be found in the KF 8915 area.


Justice Michael Thomson and Jessica Schofield