The completed paper should be from 750 to 900 words, with that total not counting the citations, the footnoted materials, or any bibliography or title page. While writing more than 900 words will NOT lead to a penalty (you won’t be rewarded either!), writing less than 750 words likely will be penalized. Please submit it in Microsoft Word.
Watch a trial or other legal proceeding.
Many students state that this assignment is very interesting and gives firsthand information on the law and legal system in a way that books and lectures cannot.
*** PLEASE STATE THE DATE AND LOCATION (COURT) OF THE PROCEEDING AS WELL AS – IF POSSIBLE – THE NAMES OF THE PARTIES, THE LAWYERS, AND THE JUDGE OR ARBITRATOR
Here is a site to find a number of trials or other proceedings. https://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/judicial-administration/cameras-courts/case-video-archive (Links to an external site.)
Note: this links to an external site.
And here is another document that I prepared (also available elsewhere) describing an linking to a number of other sites. Finding a Proceeding.pdf
Note that many courts, such as the U.S. Supreme Court or the Florida Supreme Court, have some hearings recorded.
DO NOT EVEN TRY TO GO TO A LIVE PROCEEDING. Just watch something online!
If you have other links to suggest, please feel free to send them to me.
Very important to me is your assessment of the proceeding and the general conclusions about law, the legal system, and the legal players that may be drawn from the particulars witnessed. Think about what you saw. Be willing to philosophize, if that seems appropriate. Also, if the experience left you with questions, note them.
Some Points to Consider in Your Report
- What did you see? For a big case, in which you saw only part of the overall case, describe the part you saw (e.g., voir dire, a motion hearing, opening statements) and how it fit into the larger picture of the case.
- The legal and factual problems in the case or cases.
- The legal subjects (e.g., contracts, torts) relevant to the case(s).
- For a case with a jury, the ramifications thereof (e.g., judge’s instructions, attorneys’ terms of persuasion).
- How would you have handled the case as a juror, lawyer, or judge?
- WHAT DID YOU LEARN?
YOU ARE FREE TO WATCH ANY TYPE OF PROCEEDING – state, federal, even international. Administrative or arbitration matters are okay. The proceeding must have taken place since Jan. 1, 2011, and it must NOT concern something you wrote about for a term paper. Also, I very much prefer that you watch a civil (noncriminal) matter, although that is not required. Furthermore, I prefer a trial over an appeals hearing, but the latter is okay.
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