Programs for Organizations

Criminal Trial Advocacy Program


The U.S. criminal justice system is a model around the world because of the protections it affords defendants to ensure that they receive a fair trial, in acknowledgment of the tremendous imbalance of power when a state brings charges. Its central concept of the presumption of innocence along with coordination among systems of law enforcement, courts, and correctional agencies are aimed at protecting individuals and the community.

Today, many nations have adopted similar systems, with similar goals and protections. For those countries that lack the structures and processes designed to ensure the rights of the defendant, the road to reform starts with attorneys and judges. Understanding conceptually how the U.S. system works is a good place to begin, and in the Criminal Trial Advocacy Program at the NYU Law Institute of Executive Education, your introduction presents a comprehensive structural, procedural, and philosophical overview.

But the heart of the criminal justice system is the courtroom.  Only by learning and simulating the elements of a trial from start to finish can the system’s inherent value become apparent to practitioners. From jury selection to closing arguments, at CTAP you will learn such practical courtroom skills as: how to select appropriate witnesses for your case and interview them; what kinds of evidence are allowed and how and when to introduce it; what elements are necessary to create an overarching theory of your case and why that’s important; how to question witnesses on the stand, both in direct and cross-examination; and how to build your case step by step and finally pull it all together as you address the jury at the end of the trial.

At the NYU Law Institute of Executive Education, a program of simulation exercises (including a day of pretrial hearing exercises and two days of trial exercises), in conjunction with classroom seminars led by internationally recognized legal scholars and practitioners, provides a unique avenue into understanding the U.S. criminal justice system – a system that undoubtedly will be a model to consider when creating a justice system in your home country that meets or exceeds the standards of developed nations in the 21st century.

Course Details

Sample Topics

  • Witness Examination Skills
  • U.S. Suppression Law
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Ethical Issues in Criminal Practice
  • Trial Simulations

Academic Director

Randy Hertz

Randy Hertz came to NYU School of Law in 1985 as one of the first to join the new clinical tenure track. A graduate of Stanford Law School, where he was the articles and symposium editor of the Law Review, he clerked for Robert F. Utter, chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court, and later worked at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where he handled criminal trials and appeals. Hertz is an editor-in-chief of NYU Law’s Clinical Law Review, the first scholarly journal to focus on clinical legal education and one of the few peer-edited law reviews in the country. Hertz regularly works pro bono on briefs in criminal appeals, including capital appeals and habeas corpus proceedings. He is the co-author of a two-volume book on habeas corpus that is regularly used by practicing lawyers and routinely cited by judges. And, together with University Professor Anthony Amsterdam and Law School Professor Martin Guggenheim, he wrote a trial manual on juvenile court practice that is the leading work for lawyers who handle juvenile delinquency cases. Hertz teaches the Juvenile Defender Clinic and Criminal Litigation.

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