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Skills & Values: Evidence

LexisNexis Skills and Values Series, 2009

Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 10-20

2 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2010 Last revised: 28 Jul 2010

John Mitchell

Seattle University School of Law

Rick T. Barron

Santa Barbara County Public Defender Office

Date Written: July 15, 2010


These materials were created to assist professors in incorporating lawyering skills into their substantive evidence class. They are intended to give students the experience of thinking about and applying evidence doctrine as they would in real practice. At the same time, most of the authors' students have found that they have a much better grasp of the doctrine when they can see it in a practice context.

Each chapter offers a stand-alone exercise which focuses on a particular rule under the Federal Rules of Evidence. (It is envisioned that chapters will be assigned to correlate with the particular rule being studied in class.) The exercises – which often include documents, diagrams, photographs and trial transcripts – require the student to put doctrine into action. Sometimes they will make an argument to the trial court; other times, they will conduct discovery, interview witnesses, examine witnesses on the stand to lay evidentiary foundations, or voir dire those witnesses to weaken the foundation.

Each chapter includes a “self-study” component. Here, the authors provide their approach to the exercise. They are not the answers, because the lawyering activities involved are not in the nature of true-false questions. Different lawyers will approach the same problem differently. The exercises involve doctrinal interpretation, judgment, strategy, argumentation, and often ethics.

Many of the chapters include e-materials on a website accompanying the text. These materials include a video demonstrating the impeachment of a witness with an inconsistent statement and an omission using the witness’s written statement, adversarial video arguments to which the student will be asked to respond, a 911 recording, and transcripts with voice-overs illustrating an interview seeking information to satisfy conditional relevance, an examination laying the foundations for a business record, and a voir dire aimed at attacking the foundation for an excited utterance. The web site also includes links to select United States Supreme Court Cases used in these materials.

Keywords: Evidence, evidence supplement, advocacy

Suggested Citation

Mitchell, John and Barron, Rick T., Skills & Values: Evidence (July 15, 2010). LexisNexis Skills and Values Series, 2009; Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 10-20. Available at SSRN:

John Mitchell (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

Rick T. Barron

Santa Barbara County Public Defender Office ( email )

1100 Anacapa
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
United States

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