The Honorable Leland Bush ('76) and attorneys Albert Goins ('80) and Tammi Fredrickson participating in the Judicial Trial Skills Training Program at the U's Law School on June 28, 2002.
Training new judges
by Joel Hoekstra in Law Alumni News, fall/winter 2003
From eNews, January 22, 2004
Through the Judicial Trial Skills Training Program at the U's Law School, law professor Stephen Simon has equipped more than 300 newly appointed judges with an arsenal of tools necessary to conduct a fair and efficient trial. The program, which began in 1982 as one of the first of its kind in the country, was established at the request of the Minnesota Supreme Court Office of Continuing Education. At the core of the program is a simulated trial in which new judges are videotaped while handling a variety of challenging situations. Actors and actual lawyers, assuming the various roles of prosecutor, defense attorney, witnesses, and jury members, stage a scripted scene that includes foul language and a fake gun. "Participants come with great trepidation," says Simon, who founded and directs the program. "They know that we'll be raising more issues than they can deal with." Following the hour-long simulation, all the participants meet with an experienced judge who provides a critique, and they assess each individual's methods of maintaining order and civility in the courtroom. "That's the challenging part of being a trial judge," says Simon. "The ability to maintain decorum in the courtroom, to keep the trial focused, to regulate the conduct of attorneys who may be very involved in their case or to deal with an inexperienced lawyer." To learn more about the Judicial Trial Skills Training Program, call the Law School at 612-625-1000.