Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Third Annual VBA Trial Academy a Great Success!

Thanks to the invaluable contributions of many, including: presiding judges from the state and Vermont Supreme Court benches; experienced trial practitioners who offered critiques with the presiding judges; VBA Young Lawyers Division members serving as witnesses; and volunteer student timekeepers from the Vermont Law School, the 3rd Annual VBA Trial Academy was a great success! The event was roundly applauded by participating lawyers and all who were involved in the day-long program at the Vermont Law School on July 12.  Early returns from requests for feedback include the following: “Happy to participate again -- this was one of the best CLE's I've attended;” “I think the program is very well done and organized. I would be willing to participate again next year;” “Practice and critiques from judges and experienced attorneys are invaluable assets;” and “…would love to participate next year.”

The VBA was delighted to organize an opportunity for lawyers to present a variety of trial segments in a criminal, a civil, and a family mock trial setting. Each participating lawyer was critiqued in individual courtrooms by either Justices Harold Eaton and Karen Carroll, or by Vermont Superior Court Judges Helen Toor, Cortland Corsones, Timothy Tomasi, Alison Arms, Nancy Waples, David Fenster, John Treadwell and Megan Shafritz, who each served as presiding judges.  Veteran trial practitioners David Cleary, Karen McAndrew, James Murdoch, Mary Kay Lanthier, Jim Spink, Susan Flynn, Dan Burchard, Tracy Shriver, Bill Counos and Eileen Blackwood joined the judges in offering thoughtful and detailed assessments of the lawyer participants’ trial practice techniques as they presented opening statements, direct examinations, cross examinations and closing arguments in classrooms set up as courtrooms at VLS.

YLD members Devin McKnight, Katelyn Atwood, Jeff Guevin, Mairead O’Reilly, Kienan Christianson, Sarah Cornwell, Caryn Connolly, C. Justin Sheng, Ashley Moore and Kassie Tibbott served as the witnesses being examined, while VLS students Katherine Kral, Naveed Nanjee, Elizabeth McAndrew, Harrison Drapo, Allison Berg, Beth Bowles, Frank DiMora, Bobby Appleyard, Kelly Olszuk and Austin Nichols served as timekeepers in each courtroom to ensure equal time for the presentations and critiques. Vermont Law School Dean and President Thomas McHenry welcomed all to the Trial Academy, while VBA Executive Director Teri Corsones thanked everyone for their generosity of time and expertise. The VBA is more than happy to oblige the participants’ requests for the planning of a 4th Annual VBA Trial Academy next year.  We hope to see you all there!

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