Members of the Seton Hal Law School.

Experiential Learning Bridges Opportunities for School of Law and Undergraduate Students

December 20, 2023 
By Caryn Grabowski

Seton Hall University School of Law is eagerly preparing for the delivery of the Denis F. McLaughlin Advanced Trial Advocacy Workshop this coming January. This transformative workshop, made possible by a gift from the law firm of O’Toole Scrivo in 2019, continues the legacy of legal excellence established by Seton Hall Law Professor Denis F. McLaughlin.

The Mclaughlin Workshop provides a special opportunity for students aspiring to begin their careers as trial lawyers to further develop their litigation skills in an intensive, “hands-on,” advanced advocacy program. The Workshop covers all aspects of the trial of a case and is taught and supervised by the founding director, Professor Denis McLaughlin, together with the associate director, Professor Jacob Elberg, Professor Jamie Pukl-Werbel, and a select team of expert trial lawyers and judges. During the Workshop, students attend lectures and demonstrations on discrete trial skills presented plenary style, followed by breakout sessions in smaller groups where the students perform under the direction of expert attorney coaches. The Workshop will culminate on Friday, January 19, 2024 with students in pairs trying a full jury trial before a sitting federal judge at the federal courthouse in Newark.

The Workshop is held during the winter intersession, and, in addition to the training sessions, includes daily keynote addresses by some of the most accomplished trial lawyers and judges in the bench and bar. The skills developed during the Workshop are objectively targeted to position participants as highly valued candidates for litigation positions. Nicholas Owens, a third-year student at SHU Law who also completed his undergraduate degree at Seton Hall, shared, “I was a first-year law student when I first heard out about the McLaughlin Advanced Trial Advocacy Course. From the moment I learned about it, I did as much research into it as I could to ensure my acceptance into the course.” He added, “As someone who has been involved with some kind of mock trial in undergrad and now as a law student, I know better than most people just how a simulated trial experience can be invaluable. I wouldn't miss it for the world.”

The McLaughlin Workshop benefits not only law students, but also undergraduate students with aspirations toward law or any related fields. This year, the workshop extends an invitation to undergraduate students to serve as jurors in simulated cases being tried in federal court to gain valuable insights into the legal process. Registration for the event is currently ongoing. Interested students are encouraged to contact Assistant Dean Jamie Pukl-Werbel to register or for more information.

“Since its inception, the McLaughlin Advanced Trial Advocacy Workshop has been a premier experiential learning opportunity for students at SHU Law.”, said John “Kip” Cornwell, Interim Dean and Professor of Law. “We are excited to continue this innovative program.”