Evidence Boot Camp 2023

ONU Law’s advocacy program prepares students for success in the courtroom, boardroom, or any other setting that commands effective communication or negotiation skills.

Over the past few years the law school has been ramping up its advocacy efforts and according to Trial Team Director, Professor Donald Anderson, it’s working. Anderson recently held the first four-day immersive Evidence Boot Camp for the mock trial team. The event prepares new student advocates to participate in competitions faster - learning about the fundamentals of evidence, persuasive storytelling, and direct and cross examination. Returning team members guide tutorials and roleplaying exercises with the event culminating with new members performing a full mock trial with an actual fact pattern used in competition.

Returning members expertly coached new members. Macy Zachary, 3L, says, “Each and every advocate worked tirelessly and exceeded all expectations, making compelling arguments and using persuasive storytelling techniques. We can’t wait to put their preparation to use during this year’s competition season!”

“Our goal coming into this was to set a high standard for ourselves in order to be competitive and successful but also learn and grow through the entire process,” says Carter Daniels, 3L.

“Camp was an opportunity to get everyone together, in a great learning environment and help each other grow as advocates and as a team. There is no ‘one person’ mentality. It truly is a team effort where everyone matters in the process,” says Daniels.

"The trial advocacy program at ONU has helped me greatly, both in meeting new people to become friends with and study with, as well as using the topics that we learn about in class in a courtroom setting,” says Spencer Conley, 2L. “I feel that I’m particularly well-prepared for my life as a practicing attorney with the experience that trial advocacy brings to the table. Professor Anderson is an excellent coach and teaches me how to use the Federal Rules of Evidence and other court strategies in order to become the best advocate that I can possibly be." 

Anderson held the boot camp prior to the start of fall semester, which enabled students to focus solely on the mock trial experience. “We accomplished in four days, what would have taken one or two semesters with a new trial team member,” says Anderson. “Based on what I just witnessed, this experience catapulted them, making them eligible to compete this fall.”

“I’ve been doing this a long time,” says Anderson. In just a year’s time, we’ve really evolved and I’m fully confident we’ll just keep getting better.”

“I believe we have significantly changed and developed the culture of this program. Expectations are clear, standards are high and the results will show as we begin competing,” says Daniels.

Having a strong trial advocacy program is key to the success of a law school explains Anderson. “It’s one thing to be a strong writer. To be able to go one step further and become a persuasive storyteller is what will differentiate you when you graduate and start working as a professional attorney,” explains Anderson.