Like its predecessors, the Seventh Edition of Trial Advocacy in a Nutshell breaks the “art of advocacy” into practical skills and strategies of courtroom persuasion. Part 1 focuses on strategies for turning courtroom stories into “argument-centered narratives” that emphasize the evidence that supports legal claims. Part 2 analyzes and illustrates strategies, techniques and rules for presenting argument-centered narratives effectively during all phases of trial, from opening statement to closing argument. Part 2 includes separate chapters devoted to strategies for expert witnesses, oral persuasion skills, and courtroom technology.

The book includes two chapters that approach the Federal Rules of Evidence as guides for admissibility of evidence rather than as exclusionary obstacles. They explain and illustrate how to satisfy the foundational requirements for virtually all forms of oral and tangible evidence, including electronic exhibits and exhibits prepared by forensic graphics experts. The chapters also explain effective strategies for making and responding to objections.

The book uses real and fictional trial settings from different eras and sources to add variety while analyzing rhetorical trial strategies and emphasizing their durability. For example, the chapter on closing argument compares arguments made in the murder trial of Euphiletus (Greece, circa 400 B.C.) with those made in the trial of OJ Simpson (1995). Other analyses are based on the trials of the Rosenbergs (the so-called “atomic spies,” 1953) and the Menendez brothers (1991), while still other illustrative examples are based on the Hillmon case (1892), and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire trial (1911). We also illustrate and analyze trial strategies in the context of classic courtroom films such as Anatomy of a Murder, To Kill a Mockingbird, 12 Angry Men and My Cousin Vinny, and even children’s stories such as Humpty Dumpty and Jack & Jill.

Also carried forward is the book’s light tone which makes it not only useful but also a good read.

Imprint: West Academic Publishing
Series: Nutshells
Publication Date: 09/26/2023

Paul B. Bergman, University of California-L.A. School of Law

Justin Bernstein, University of California-L.A. School of Law


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  • The entire text has been reviewed with a focus on clarity and conciseness.
  • New chapter: Strategies for effective oral persuasion.
  • New chapter: Effective use of courtroom technology.
  • New topic: Trying Cases Remotely.
  • Analyses and illustrations based on the latest version of the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Learn more about this series.