Persuasive Argumentation for Lawyers – GOVT 476

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course will introduce undergraduate students to the basic principles and skills of advocacy in the American courtroom. Students will study principles of analysis, reasoning, evidence, organization and presentation needed to develop and offer legal arguments. The course will cover both pre-court preparation of legal arguments as well as the skills of identifying evidential issues and then creating persuasive arguments to support legal theories.


GOVT 200 and 346


The purpose of this course is to expose students to the introductory skills and techniques necessary to perform in a courtroom. Students will learn how to analyze, prepare, and present legal theories at the trial and appellate court levels. It is important for students in the School of Government to understand the fundamental steps in pre-trial and trial preparation, how to identify legal issues, and the skills necessary to create persuasive arguments.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Develop essential skills for crafting persuasive legal arguments based on proper legal research and analysis.
  2. Master the methods and techniques of persuasive advocacy.
  3. Apply persuasive advocacy methods and techniques in multiple legal settings.
  4. Recognize non-ethical forms of persuasion and guard against their effect and use in legal practice.
  5. Articulate a persuasive argument that meets the substantive and ethical standards of legal advocacy.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (3)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to submit a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 250 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 1 classmate’s thread. Each reply must be at least 125 words.

Activities (4)

After reviewing the assigned module/week’s Reading & Study material, the student will complete a corresponding activity in which he or she will respond to prompts, supporting his or her answers with information from the Reading & Study material and at least 2 scholarly sources. Responses must be well organized, use proper grammar, and follow current Bluebook format. Each Activity must be no longer than 2 pages.

Field Experience Paper

The student will write a 4–6-page research-based paper in current Bluebook format that focuses on a field experience. The paper must include at least 5 references in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible.

Tests (2)

Each test will cover the Reading & Study material for the assigned module/week and may incorporate material from prior modules/weeks. Each test will be open-book/open-notes and contain 7 essay questions. The time limit for each test will be 1 hour and 30 minutes.