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.
Learning Outcomes – By the end of this class, students should:
1. Have a good understanding of the Rules of Evidence and the ways they govern the flow of evidence in litigation.
2. Have an understanding of how the Rules of Evidence affect the ways lawyers structure transactions and interactions even where there is no litigation.
3. Gain an understanding of how the Rules of Evidence are shaped by, and in turn reinforce, our adversary system of justice.
4. Understand some of the strategic decisions that litigators make in light of the Rules of Evidence.