Categories: Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution Law Practice Skills Criminal Law


Hurley, Stephen

Course Data

Room 2260
MW 8:20am-10:20am

Pass/Fail: Yes

Past Grade Distributions

Course Description

The rules of evidence define how facts are proven in civil and criminal litigation. Focusing on the Federal Rules of Evidence, this course will give students a broad survey of the rules combined with in-depth analysis of how they apply in specific circumstances and how the entire litigation process -- from the filing of a complaint to final judgment after trial and appeal -- is shaped by evidentiary principles. Analysis of appellate case law will play, at most, a very limited role in the course. Although denoted a "lecture" course to signal that class enrollment is not limited, the teaching format will not be based primarily on lectures. Instead, class discussions will be centered around hands-on solving of specific problems, with emphasis on formulating questions, making and ruling on objections, and planning how to get facts before a jury. Simulation and role-playing will be used from time to time.


By the end of this course, students should:

• Have acquired a working knowledge of the Federal Rules of Evidence;
• Have a thorough understanding of the policies underlying those Rules;
• Know how the Wisconsin Rules of Evidence materially differ from the Federal Rules;
• Be able to identify evidentiary issues raised by the facts in relation to the pleadings, and by questions asked during a witness' examination; and
• With respect to those issues, articulate the strengths and weaknesses of the positions of the proponent of the evidence and of the opponent of the evidence.

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