Objection! Helping Clinical Students Practice Trial Skills

For the better part of the last decade, students in Albany Law’s Domestic Violence Prosecution Hybrid Clinic have used a computer program called “You Be the Judge” to help them sharpen their evidentiary objections.  It takes about forty-five minutes for students to complete a simulated trail during which they must object to various pieces of evidence and/or testimony using the Federal Rules of Evidence.  The student must choose when to object and write an explanation for the objection in the time allotted.

The appeal of the program is that it offered a simple and entertaining way to practice trial skills without the need for elaborate hypotheticals or the cooperation of fellow students. However, the game also had several drawbacks.  It only worked with very old operating systems. Correct answers were not always accepted if the student didn’t word them exactly how the game did, and the game offered limited feedback as to why answers where right and others were wrong.

We are now in search of a replacement program that would similarly allow students to practice their evidentiary objections.  Ideally the program would be based on the New York Rules of Evidence, but the Federal Rules would suffice. 

What similar programs do others use?  One newer program is the “Objection!” program (http://www.objection.com/products.html) has anyone used it?  Would anyone recommend it?  Thanks for any suggestions you could provide.

2 Responses

  1. I just finished playing a few rounds of the Objection! demo and it seems to be a better alternative to the one we have been using (You Be the Judge). My only criticism is that you have to answer either all the questions right or in speed-demon time to advance to the next round and it doesn’t seem to give you much time to read the question and answer. But, on the other hand, that’s pretty realistic, isn’t it?

    There are decent explanations and it lists the possible objections for you, so I wasn’t faced with the problem w/ You Be The Judge where I was trying to guess how to phrase the objection. Also, this game allows for multiple different objections to some of the questions. So far, I think this is a better option than You Be The Judge and, even if a clinic student doesn’t advance, a couple rounds of the game should get them brushed up on objections fairly well.

  2. You may want to take a look at the CALI Lessons in Evidence, including these Lessons listed at http://u.cali.org/ryk4 – “Impeachment and Rehabilitation of Witnesses”, “Character Evidence Under Federal Rules”, “Survey of Evidence”, “The Hearsay Rule & Its Exceptions”. The Lesson are available to Albany students as part of the school’s CALI membership.
    In addition you can use the LessonLink feature to generate unique, trackable URLs for the Lessons to track student performance. See details for Lessonlink at http://www.cali.org/lessonlink.

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