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Hillman Advocacy Program a Resounding Success
During the week of January 18, 2012, the Federal Bar of West Michigan and the United States District Court for the Western District sponsored the 31st annual Hillman Advocacy Program. Over 60 students participated in the 2 ½ - day trial practice workshop. The Hillman Advocacy Program is a learn-by-doing seminar that gives lawyers a unique opportunity to develop courtroom skills under the guidance of some of Western Michigan’s top trial lawyers – all of whom volunteer their time.
After several years of instructing, I had the pleasure of serving as the program chairperson this year. The workshop provided litigators a terrific opportunity to practice the skills they need in order to represent their clients effectively. What I enjoy most about the Hillman program is that it isn't a lecture based program -- we get our students on their feet the first day and throughout the program. We are all about learning-by-doing.
This learn-by-doing training program was developed in 1981 amidst criticism that many trial lawyers in the federal courts appeared ineffective. Today, the program has grown in recognition to become one of the best trial advocacy programs in the country. More than 1,600 attorneys throughout West Michigan have participated over the program’s 31-year history. It continues to provide a valuable experience to new attorneys.
During the seminar, attorneys had the chance to study techniques of effective communication, the fine points of direct and cross examination, the strategy of jury selection and other communication issues useful to trial attorneys. Attorneys also engaged in a mock trial presided over by numerous Federal Judges and Magistrate Judges from our District. More information on the Hillman Advocacy Program can be found at www.hillmanadvocacy.com.