The Denis F. McLaughlin Advanced Trial Advocacy Workshop

Endowed by the Law Firm of O'Toole Scrivo

Denis McLaughlin Teaching in the Moot Court Room

Workshop Overview

The Denis F. McLaughlin Advanced Trial Advocacy Workshop is a special opportunity for students aspiring to begin their careers as trial lawyers to further develop their trial skills in an intensive, “hands-on,” advanced advocacy workshop.

The McLaughlin Workshop breaks down the trial from start to finish and culminates with each student trying a case before real judges in their courtrooms. The workshop is structured around a set of simulated complex case files, with students working in pairs assigned to represent one party in one case file. The curriculum is divided into modules. In each module students practice a discrete trial skill, starting with the formulation of a theory of the case, and moving on to jury selection, opening statements, direct and cross examination of witnesses, and closing arguments. The McLaughlin Workshop builds on the foundational skills students acquired in Persuasion and Advocacy and Evidence to inculcate the specific skills and knowledge required to try a case: preparation, examination and cross-examination of expert witnesses; evidentiary foundations; objections; various types of impeachment; and development of visual aids for trial. The McLaughlin Workshop culminates in students trying their cases in pairs, with other students in the class acting as witnesses. These capstone trials will take place in federal or state courthouses before actual judges.

Workshop Details

The McLaughlin Workshop is held during the winter intersession. The workshop is three credits and graded on a credit/fail basis as completion will signal rigorous work by all participants.  Each day includes either a lunch or dinner including a keynote address by a distinguished trial lawyer or judge.  The lunches/dinners provide an invaluable opportunity for students to hear from and network with some of the most accomplished trial lawyers and judges in the bench and bar. 

The Workshop is taught and supervised by the founding director, Professor Denis McLaughlin, together with associate director, Professor Jacob Elberg, and Professor Jamie Pukl-Werbel, in addition to a select team of volunteer expert lawyers and judges. During the Workshop, students will attend lectures and demonstrations on discrete trial skills presented plenary style, followed by breakout sessions in smaller groups where the students will perform under the direction of either one or two expert coaches. The Workshop will culminate with students in pairs trying a full jury trial before a sitting federal judge at the federal courthouse in Newark. 

Workshop Application

Completion of Evidence and Persuasion and Advocacy prior to the Winter Intersession is a prerequisite for enrollment.  Enrollment for the workshop is limited and interested students are asked to submit to the Director a completed application during the fall of their 2L/3L/4L year.

About O’Toole Scrivo, LLC

Founded by Seton Hall University Law School classmates, Kevin O’Toole and Thomas Scrivo, O’Toole Scrivo is led by a team of attorneys who have practiced at the highest levels, including former Chief Counsels to the Governor, Assistant United States Attorneys, Assistant County Prosecutors and a host of subject matter experts.  The firm is carefully crafted with more than 50 attorneys focusing on high stakes matters.  O’Toole Scrivo provides clients with a unique blend of public sector insight and private sector expertise, delivering innovative solutions.

McLaughlin Advanced Trial Advocacy Workshop - January 2020

McLaughlin Advanced Trial Advocacy Workshop - 2022