Document Type

Blog Post

Publication Date



Four years ago, Wes Porter, Director of the Litigation Center at the Golden Gate University School of Law, created an innovative program to teach evidence and trial advocacy to law students in the summer between their first and second years of law school. The program, called 1st STEP (Summer Trial and Evidence Program), has garnered national attention. In 2013, the program was featured in PreLaw Magazine's 25 Most Innovative Ideas issue and in National Jurist Magazine's article entitled Fifteen Innovative Experimental Ideas. Wes has also written about the 1st STEP program in this blog. Additionally, a description and student feedback about the program is on the GGU litigation website.

One of the most interesting aspects of the program—at least to me—is the Immersion Week that occurs at the beginning of the course. In the Immersion Week, students undertake an intensive study of trial advocacy that includes case analysis, storytelling, theme and theory development, performance and courtroom presence skills, direct and cross examinations, opening statements, and closing arguments. To cap off the week, the students bring the case to trial. Introduced as a professional conference, Immersion Week is Monday through Friday, 9am – 5pm.