Introduction to Advocacy

Course Number
LAW 2650
Course Description

This is a course designed to introduce students to the principles of effective advocacy starting with initial client contact. Interviewing, counseling, and advising clients is central to understanding the nature of a conflict and the potential avenues for resolution. Advocacy manifests itself in many different ways ranging from basic communication skills through to formal judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings. It also attracts many aspects of professional and ethical conduct. The course will provide an overview of the various forms of advocacy including a fair bit of ‘learning by doing’. This will include basic public speaking as well as an intensive introduction to the trial process-preparation of a trial theory, opening and closing argument, direct examination and cross examination.

Teaching Method

The first few weeks of the course are dedicated to lectures on trial advocacy techniques and watching demonstrations given by senior lawyers and judges. Students will gain knowledge of the basic components of trial advocacy (opening address, direct examination of a witness, cross-examination of a witness, objections, use of exhibits, and closing argument). As this lecture component progresses, students also take part in in-class small group exercises led by practicing lawyers and judges. Students are divided into small groups to practice the skills they have learned about through the lectures and demonstrations.


This course is pass/fail. Students must satisfactorily complete the following modes of evaluation:
1. Small Group Exercise 1 – Opening Address
2. Small Group Exercise 2 – Direct Examination
3. Small Group Exercise 3 – Cross Examination
4. Small Group Exercise 4 - Closing Argument
5. Small Group Exercise 5 – Interviewing and Drafting an Affidavit
6. Mock Trial Exercise 6 - Mock Trial

Course Materials

Course text: Lee Stuesser, An Advocacy Primer, 4th ed (Toronto: Thomson Carswell, 2015). Other materials as assigned by the course instructors and posted on UM Learn.


Sarah Inness; The Honourable Raymond Wyant; Jessica Dillon