CLE Program Offers Introductory Course on Essential Trial Skills

January 27, 2014

In February the D.C. Bar Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program will offer the four-part “Essential Trial Skills Series,” a great introduction to and overview of the trial skills a lawyer must possess in the courtroom.

The series includes lectures, discussions, and demonstrations emphasizing the rules, practices, and procedures in local and federal courts in the Washington metropolitan area. Both civil and criminal trial considerations will be discussed.

The series opens on February 5 with “Jury Selection,” which will examine the process and procedure of jury selection, including the composition of the jury pool, peremptory strikes, and use of jury selection services.

Paulette Chapman, a partner at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P.; Janet Mitchell of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia; and Dwight Murray, formerly of Jordan Coyne & Savits L.L.P., will lead this session.

Part two, “Opening Statements and Closing Arguments,” on February 12 will help attorneys start out right and finish strong at their next trial. This session will look at opening and closing arguments from several key perspectives, including preparation, presentation, and objections.

Debra S. Katz, a partner at Katz, Marshall & Banks, LLP, and Michael F. Williams, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, will serve as faculty.

Part three, “Witness Preparation and Direct Examination,” on February 19 will cover attorneys’ vital task of preparing witnesses to testify credibly at trial. This session will examine techniques and strategies for effective direct examination, maximizing a witness’s potential and minimizing his or her weaknesses.

Attendees will hear from Catherine D. Bertram, a partner at Regan Zambri Long & Bertram, PLLC; Patrick J. Coyne, a partner at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP; and Sara E. Kropf of the Law Office of Sara E. Kropf.

The final session, “Cross-Examination,” on February 26 will teach attendees how to use cross-examination to tell their story, to control the witness, and to impeach the witness. This class is useful to attorneys who have yet to cross-examine a witness, as well as to practitioners who have a modest level of trial experience. It will delve into the objectives, strategies, tactics, mechanics, and legal principles of effective cross-examination.

Patrick J. Attridge of King & Attridge and L. Barrett Boss, a partner at Cozen O’Connor, will serve as faculty.

All sessions take place from 6 to 9:15 p.m. at the D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1101 K Street NW, first floor. The series is cosponsored by the D.C. Bar Antitrust and Consumer Law Section; Corporation, Finance and Securities Law Section; Courts, Lawyers and the Administration of Justice Section; Criminal Law and Individual Rights Section; Family Law Section; Government Contracts and Litigation Section; Intellectual Property Law Section; Labor and Employment Law Section; Law Practice Management Section; Litigation Section; Real Estate, Housing and Land Use Section; and Tort Law Section.

For more information, contact the CLE Program at 202-626-3488 or visit