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Trial Academy

Developing our top-flight talent into first-chair trial lawyers


Preparing our next generation of trial lawyers for success requires training with a personal touch. That’s why we offer in-depth training in-house, with our nationally recognized trial attorneys at the helm.

The Tucker Ellis Trial Academy gives our top mid-level attorneys a unique opportunity to enrich their courtroom skills. Trial Academy differs from outside trial-skills programs in that our attorneys receive personalized guidance and support from veteran Tucker Ellis trial lawyers who already know them and their practices. This allows participants to more effectively hone their strengths, identify their weaknesses, and overall enhance their capabilities as trial lawyers.

Download our Trial Academy brochure
Sarena Holder cross-examines a witness during the June 2023 Trial Academy.

How it works

Trial Academy begins with a two-day practical seminar in which senior Trial Department partners present on the various phases of a trial and demonstrate key trial skills based on real-life cases they’ve litigated. Participants in both trials attend the training session, and the presentation is video recorded for future reference.

Then, participants receive a hypothetical case and divide into teams of two representing either the plaintiff or defendant. The fact patterns focus on business litigation, personal injury, product liability, or medical malpractice. Each team has the option to select a junior lawyer to assist. With support from senior partners, both teams establish theories of the case and strategies to win it.

Giuseppe Pappalardo presents evidence during the June 2023 Trial Academy.

Four to six weeks of preparation culminate in a fully immersive three-day trial experience – from voir dire to verdict. Teams engage in every step of the trial process, including:

  • selecting their jury
  • arguing motions in limine
  • giving opening statements
  • direct- and cross-examining of both lay and expert witnesses
  • making closing arguments

Following the trial, senior partners provide critical feedback to each participant assessing their courtroom skills. Because the trials are video recorded, participants can actually study their performances and work with partners to address areas for improvement.

Lindsey Sacher questions witness Christine Snyder during the May 2023 mock trial.

Our goal

Our nationally renowned Trial Department is composed of a deep and experienced team of trial lawyers who not only rank among the most accomplished in the country, but also – in the spirit of service that our firm represents – they make it their personal responsibility to pass the torch of legal excellence to the next generation.

Trial Academy aims to do just that. Participants learn from the best of our seasoned trial lawyers, who often have worked with the participants throughout their careers on various client matters. This familiarity and collegiality allows partners to provide tailored guidance to each participant rather than the one-size-fits-all approach common of outside trial-skills programs. With this unique approach to teaching trial skills, Trial Academy represents a key way Tucker Ellis invests in our clients and the future.

Our May 2023 Trial Academy teams convene with Judge Matt Moriarty and 2023 program leader Rita Maimbourg.