Litigation and the Judicial Process & Civil ProcedureFull-time Faculty
Although great courtroom dramas tend to form our image of litigators, most civil litigation is settled or resolved on summary judgment and never involves a trial. For that reason, a prospective litigator must develop the skills involved in investigation, drafting pleadings, discovery, and briefing and arguing pre-trial motions. Two of the most important skills to develop are legal writing and case planning. For the former, students should take legal writing courses and seminars. For case planning, the Law School's clinical offerings stress analysis of problems requiring a legal solution.
Ultimately, however, success as a litigator depends on ability in taking a case to trial. For this, one must have mastery of the procedural and evidentiary rules, skill in legal and factual analysis, and facility in written and oral argument. All these must be combined with a good understanding of trial strategy and persuasive technique. Obviously, trial ability comes with experience, but the Law School can provide a good start to your experience, through courses, seminars, simulations, externships, and clinics. The foundation for the study of litigation is the required course in Civil Procedure. Beyond that, the Law School's upper level courses examine various topics and aspects of trial in both criminal and civil procedure, in state and federal courts. While students may select from these courses based on their interests, the foundational course for any trial lawyer is Evidence.
Upper Level Courses in Specialized Topics
Specific Substantive Topics
Additional Related Upper Level Courses
Related Subject Areas
Related Fordham Law School Publications and Centers & Institutes