Training

The Soft Skills: Critical Thinking

The Soft Skills: Critical Thinking

Critical thinking has been the subject of much debate and discussion since the time of ancient Greek philosophers, Socrates and Plato. Critical thinking in the context of the practice of law requires law students to learn to question and analyze what they see, hear, read, think, and feel with the understanding that first impressions are often wrong conclusions and often change after studious, meticulous analysis. Critical thinking is one of several soft skills that attorney-advocates must utilize to meet the needs of their clients. The California Desert Trial Academy’s (CDTA) unique learning platform emphasizes that students learn the soft skills in...

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Understanding A Law’s Purpose

Understanding A Law’s Purpose

Because legislation is the product of a deliberative and informed process, it has discernible purposes and objectives. Lawyers and judges utilize tools to examine a statute’s purpose and establish the legislature’s intent for enacting the statute. Once the legislative intent has been established, it may be used to understand and interpret a statute’s meaning. Many statutes begin with a preamble or purpose clause, which may provide guidance in discerning the intent of the legislature where the statute may be ambiguous. Lawyers faced with choosing between different plausible interpretations may refer to the statute’s purpose to make a final decision. However, where...

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Tips To Improve Legal Writing

Tips To Improve Legal Writing

The California Desert Trial Academy (CDTA) accepted its first class of students in 2012, focusing on a more logical, practical approach to legal education in the 21st Century. This focus emphasizes the same extensive educational platform as traditional law schools while considering the traditional deficiencies of today’s law school graduates. At CDTA, not only do we educate students, but we also train and develop them to be exceptional trial advocates. Attorney-advocates must not only have the oral skills to represent clients in the courtroom, but they must possess the necessary writing skills as well. Lawyers are often judged professionally on interpersonal...

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The Tools Of Trial Advocacy: Skilled Cross-Examination

Cross-examination has been described as the “greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth.” 5 J. Wigmore, Evidence § 1367, p. 32. Any good trial attorney must be skilled at cross-examination. This skill is necessary for anyone who wants to be a true attorney-advocate. Some say those attorneys who are best at cross-examination aren’t the most charismatic orators, but the hardest workers. They prepare for cross-examination as if they are preparing for a marathon race and observe the following course of action: Reviewing and examining every document, transcript, email, and writing; Listing the evidence available for every subject and cross-referencing...

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Going Beyond 20th Century Legal Education: CDTA Teaches Important Skills Inside And Outside The Courtroom

Going Beyond 20th Century Legal Education: CDTA Teaches Important Skills Inside And Outside The Courtroom

Any lawyer must study and know the substantive law. Law schools have traditionally focused on teaching the substantive law and only the substantive law (except for core courses like civil and criminal procedure). At the California Desert Trial Academy (CDTA), we go beyond this idea based on our belief that practical experience and certain “soft” skills coupled with substantive knowledge provide the best opportunities for a successful, rewarding, and prosperous legal career. In furtherance of our goal of preparing excellent and capable trial advocates, our classroom facilities present a true legal environment. They include: A full-functioning authentic California Trial Courtroom; A...

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Mentors Are Invaluable

Mentors Are Invaluable

CDTA Founder and Dean John Patrick Dolan started the California Desert Trial Academy (CDTA) to develop not just exceptional attorneys, but outstanding trial attorneys. Dean Dolan realized that a focus on trial advocacy skills would require a different approach to a student’s overall legal education. He conceptualized an educational curriculum that was analogous to a medical school residency program where doctors mentored students and provided them with hands-on, real-world scenarios to apply their new professional skills. Dean Dolan’s own experiences as a law student with an attorney mentor were priceless. These experiences provided invaluable practical skills because they placed him in the...

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Legal Writing: Learn to Be More Compelling to Your Readers

legal writing

You may be surprised to find that there is quite a bit of extremely bad writing stored away in law libraries. Not all attorneys are great writers and you will find that many attorneys submit poorly written motions and briefs to the Court. You will also find that these attorneys develop a less than stellar reputation with Judges and other counsel because of this. At CDTA, you will learn strong writing skills that will prevent you from ever submitting documents that rely on outdated legalese, with many unnecessary words thrown into the mix for good measure. You may also be surprised...

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Legal Contracts: Why Are They Usually So Hard to Understand?

legal contracts

Even before law school, you may have wondered why legal documents must be so ridiculously difficult to read; after all, the idea behind a contract or any other document being signed by one or more parties is to make sure that everyone is apprised of exactly what is included in the deal or agreement, and that they support every word which was clearly understood, motivating them to authorize permission with their personal signature. Legalise is not hard to come by in written documents. You may have been exposed to it numerous times over the years in a variety of different agreements—perhaps...

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Online Law Studies: Enjoying a More Personalized Experience

online law school

Upon the advent of the internet, few probably realized how much it would change the world, along with inventions like online law studies. And while traditional practices such as shopping at the mall and driving to a conventional campus to attend school are still appealing to consumers, the ability to use online resources presents us with choices about how we want to lead our lives. You may experience this today, even in the smallest of ways; for instance, perhaps you check your bank balance online every morning, but prefer to go to the bank to do your deposit. You may...

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Interviewing for Law School Internships: The Questions You Should Ask

internships

It is very common for law school students to take on internships, and although this may be possible sometimes during the actual school year, if you are attending California Desert Trial Academy College of Law it is recommended that law students take on such endeavors during their breaks. This can be an extremely valuable way to spend your summer or even just a winter break. The law school internship is often the result of heavy networking however, and you may see this in play with many other students as soon as you get into your law school studies. If you are...

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