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Center for Legal Advocacy

The E. David Woycik, Jr. Intensive Trial Techniques Program

The E. David Woycik, Jr. Intensive Trial Techniques Program offers students a unique opportunity to develop core litigation skills through a short-term, highly focused, hands-on course. This intensive “immersion” program uses a concentrated curriculum and extremely low faculty-student ratio — typically one faculty member for every five students — to provide basic training in all of the fundamental lawyering skills involved in civil and criminal trials.

The Daily Schedule | About E. David Woycik, Jr. ’79

The Program

The program is based upon the proven intensive methodology initially developed by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) for practicing lawyers. This course is given on seven consecutive days in January during the during the winter intersession. Attendance is required and is taken daily. The program is open to second- and third-year students who have completed the basic course in Evidence.

Students learn the essential aspects of courtroom litigation, including opening statements; summation; direct and cross examination; documentary evidence and expert testimony. The critical skills of settlement negotiation are introduced, as is the essential pretrial discovery technique of the deposition. During the program, students conduct trials, and the students’ performances are individually reviewed by experienced attorney-teachers and by professional actors.

cla trial 1

The program first focuses on the core skill of trial advocacy — witness examination. Students conduct direct and cross-examinations. To be successful, students must learn to develop a theory of the particular examination, decide on an appropriate approach to bring out the facts consistent with the theory, prepare the witness and, only then, conduct the examination. Students must also anticipate evidentiary objections and defend their positions when objections are made by others in the class or the instructor.

After practicing simple direct, cross- and redirect examinations, students then prepare and demonstrate problems that require laying a foundation and introducing into evidence various types of exhibit material, including documents, photographs, X-rays, maps, charts, reports and physical objects. Further problems require students to prepare and conduct closing statements.

Once proficiency is established in basic techniques of examination, the problems become quite complex, requiring intensive preparation. Substantial evidentiary issues are built into each problem to develop the student’s proficiency in making and defending against objections. Students learn how to develop fact-driven case theories upon which they will build their trial cases.

Once students master the art of witness examinations in order to gather the facts necessary to prove their theories to the jury, they are asked to communicate those theories by exploring and performing the elements of opening and closing statements. Students practice their courtroom skills by conducting two trials that serve to integrate all the skills they have acquired during the program.

Students also are trained in client counseling and negotiation theory. They develop planning skills essential to successful negotiating. Students then practice these skills by counseling clients and engaging in negotiations involving complex issues.

The Daily Schedule

A typical day begins at 9 a.m. with the class divided into four sections. The students perform the assigned problems and are critiqued by the Teaching Team. This leads to discussion among the Team members and the class. A coffee break comes at 10 a.m. or so. At about 10:30 a.m., the class is divided into small groups of 10 students for the purpose of student performance and critique of assigned problems by faculty and prominent trial lawyers and judges, the latter volunteering their services. Each student is required to prepare and demonstrate several problems per day. The faculty-student ratio is usually 1 to 5.

The skills session continues until lunchtime. After the lunch hour, the small groups reconvene for more individual performance and critique. The afternoon skills session problems are more challenging in order to assess the individual student’s growth.

cla trial 2

At about 5 p.m. the entire class convenes in the Sidney R. Siben and Walter Siben Moot Courtroom (shown above) to watch a demonstration of some aspect of the work assigned for the following day. These demonstrations are supplemented by lectures and films.

Each student is videotaped at least twice during the program. Following a “live” critique, the student will watch his or her performance on a TV monitor and be critiqued on a one-on-one basis.

The first three working days are devoted to witness examinations. Thereafter, students will try a complete case to a judge sitting without a jury. Following these trials,students focus on case theory and trial strategy and perform more advanced exercises. Students then conduct a second, more complex trial presided over by a member of the teaching faculty.

About E. David Woycik, Jr. ’79

WoycikIn 2005, Hofstra Law renamed its Trial Techniques Program The E. David Woycik, Jr. Intensive Trial Techniques Program in appreciation for his outstanding contributions to the Law School, his achievements in the legal field and his many charitable endeavors.

David Woycik is a partner of the law firm of Sanders, Sanders, Block, Woycik, Viener & Grossman, P.C. located in Mineola, New York and concentrates on matters related to personal injury, construction, and highway design. He was appointed a Special U.S. Attorney for 2003-2006.

Mr. Woycik received his B.A. in 1977 and J.D. in 1980 from Hofstra University. He was named Hofstra’s Alumnus of the Year in 1999 and Distinguished Law School graduate in 2005. Hofstra’s nationally renowned Trial Techniques Program was named the “E. David Woycik, Jr. Intensive Trial Techniques Program” for his commitment to Hofstra Law School and his skills as a Trial Attorney. He has been President of Hofstra’s Veteran Organization, the Alumni Organization and the Athletic Pride Club.

Mr. Woycik first became a Big Brother while a junior at Huntington High School in 1972 and has been an active supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island for over 40 years. In addition to serving on the mentoring agency’s Board of Directors, Mr. Woycik developed and funded the Endowment program which was recently named in his honor along with James Metzger. For Mr. Woycik’s commitment and contributions, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island has named their Nassau office, the “E. David Woycik, Jr. Building”. His other philanthropic efforts include being on the Board of Directors for The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and Vet Dogs of America as well as Canine Companions of America.

Mr. Woycik is a Retired Colonel in the United States Army, Judge Advocate General Corps and served overseas for Operation Desert Storm as well as Operation Enduring Freedom in the War Against Terrorism. His awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak leaf clusters.

Mr. Woycik is married to Carolyn Woycik and they reside in Garden City, New York.