Upper level students at St. Francis have completed their oral appellate arguments over the past week in LAW871 Advanced Legal Writing.  The students were guided in preparing for the arguments by Professor Jeff Price, a California Appellate Specialist, and Professor Harvey Schweitzer, who practices in New Jersey.  Professors Price and Schweitzer both reported how impressed they were with the students’ performance.

The oral argument concerns a case students briefed over the course of the six week class involving an issue of Double Jeopardy under the United States Constitution.  St. Francis students honed their legal research and writing skills by researching the issues throughout the course, in which they assumed the role of criminal defense counsel.  Students prepared a motion to dismiss the defendant’s case based on Double Jeopardy, and argued the motion earlier in the course.   Students then completed an appellate brief addressing the issue.

In the mock appellate arguments, students appeared live on camera before their professor and peers, as well as two experienced lawyers serving as judges.  One group of students presented their arguments to Professor Ryann Jorban, a career prosecutor in Los Angeles, and Professor James Woodruff, a JAG attorney for many years.  Both have extensive courtroom experience.  Prof. Jorban described the students’ performance as “phenomenal.”  A second group of students presented arguments before Prof. Mike Santana, who has previously taught Advanced Legal Writing for St. Francis School of Law as well as two ABA law schools, and has extensive practice experience, and St. Francis Professor Roger Cusick, a practitioner with 25 years of experience in legal practice, including numerous appeals.

The St. Francis program includes many experiences designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop their oral advocacy skills, which are important in the practice of law.  Congratulations to our students for a fantastic performance!tude