Any student who wishes to enter any field involving litigation must have familiarity with the rules of procedure and evidence that govern the trial process. Starting with Civil Procedure in the 1L year, students gain exposure to the matrix of rules governing the adjudication of claims. The upper-level course in Criminal Procedure: Adjudication extends this knowledge for students interested in specializing in criminal law. Upper-level civil litigation courses likewise introduce students to the nuances of building a case, from investigation to motions and discovery practice through the presentation of evidence.
For students interested in either civil or criminal litigation, the upper-level course in Evidence is essential. Although attorneys in criminal practice are more likely to use the rules of evidence in court on a regular basis, the principles of admissibility and privilege covered in the Evidence course exert influence over a broad array of out-of-court actions, such as in assessing the risk of going to trial, in making motions in limine to establish before trial the admissibility or inadmissibility of certain evidence, and in negotiating the terms of a settlement. Even legal bodies that do not formally rely on the Federal Rules of Evidence, such as certain administrative fora and arbitrations, may nonetheless look to principles of evidence in deciding the admissibility or weight of evidence. Evidence is also one of seven core legal areas covered by the multi-state bar exam, and the sole single multi-state topic not required by the Law School.
Students who anticipate litigating more frequently in a courtroom setting (such as criminal prosecutors and defense lawyers, appellate attorneys, or civil trial lawyers), should also consider taking advantage of skills courses in trial and appellate practice, along with numerous clinical offerings that provide students with the opportunity to translate their knowledge into practice.
Find out more about Litigation at NYU Law.