Melissa Softness, Associate Attorney at Zarco Einhorn Salkowski & Brito, will join the 2016 faculty of Emory University School of Law’s Kessler-Eidson Trial Techniques Program to be held April 30 through May 6.
Ms. Softness joins an elite group of more than 120 jurists, practitioners, and legal scholars from across the United States and foreign jurisdictions, including Mexico, to teach in the prominent program which, over the course of three decades, has launched some of the nation’s leading trial lawyers and judges.
“We are very selective in choosing faculty,” said Emory Law professor, and Emory Law Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution director, Paul Zwier. “The group of faculty that will convene in Atlanta this year includes people who are at the top of their game – and who also have the teaching skills to train the next generation of trial advocates.”
When founded in 1982, the program was modeled after the National Institute for Trial Advocacy’s program for teaching practicing lawyers. Emory Law’s program is the largest in the country and is recognized as one of the nation’s finest. The American College of Trial Lawyers has twice conferred on Emory’s program the Emil Gumpert Award for excellence in the teaching of trial advocacy.
“Emory Law has been one of the nation’s leading producer of trial lawyers, and this program along with our course offerings in advocacy – is a big part of that,” said Zwier.
The program’s teaching methodology focuses on integrating the second-year law student’s knowledge of substantive evidence with practical trial skills through a “learn-by- doing” format. Trial experience is supplemented by a textbook, lectures, and discussions. During two sessions in the spring semester, students develop theories for particular witness examinations, decide on appropriate approaches to bring out the facts consistent with their theories, prepare witnesses, and conduct direct and cross-examinations using current courtroom technology in the use of exhibits. This is followed by an seven-day intensive learn-by- doing class in which participants will engage in a “Daubert” hearing to determine whether an expert witness will testify at trial. Two days later, students will conduct a jury trial with high school students from the Atlanta area serving as jurors. By the end of eight days, more than 290 students will have collectively tried more than 70 jury trials and participated in more than 70 Daubert hearings.
Founded in 1916, Emory University School of Law is an American Bar Association (ABA) nationally accredited law school. Consistently ranked as one of the premier law schools in the United States, Emory Law offers exceptional doctrinal and practical legal education with signature programs in advocacy, transactional law, technology and IP law, law and religion, and vulnerability studies.