Litigation refers to the resolution of disputes through the court system. It encompasses everything from traffic court and small claims to murder trials, class-action suits, and Supreme Court cases on the posting of the Ten Commandments. Litigators must be competent in three areas: the substantive law governing the subject-matter of the dispute (contracts, family law, criminal law, civil rights, torts, etc.), the procedural law governing how the court system works at all three phases of litigation (pretrial, trial, and appeal), and the principles of good advocacy.
Alternative Dispute Resolution refers to ways of settling disputes outside of formal trials, especially mediation and arbitration.
Students who want only a basic introduction to trial practice should take evidence and trial advocacy. Evidence must be taken first and is a pre-requisite to Trial Advocacy. It is usually offered both semesters. Students who want advanced instruction have several opportunities. For example, in their second year, students can also take appellate advocacy and participate in the Sherman Minton Moot Court Competition, which improves written and oral advocacy skills. Students who take both evidence and trial advocacy in their second year will have the prerequisites to enroll in advanced trial practice, trial competition, clinical courses, and externships in their third year.
The Sherman Minton Moot Court Competition takes place in the fall and early spring. Students work in pairs preparing an appellate brief and arguing their case in front of panels of judges, lawyers, professors, and other experienced advocates, and receive valuable feedback on their arguments and performances.
Each year the law school sponsors a team to compete in the International Law Students Association’s Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition. Approximately 1,500 students from more than 300 law schools in almost 50 nations participate in the Jessup Moot Court Competition every year. It is the largest and most prestigious international law moot court competition in the world. The International Law Society works with the Jessup advisor at Indiana Law for this competition.
Each year the law school sponsors a team to compete in the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition sponsored by Pace Law School in New York. Three adverse teams argue the issues, reflecting the fact that environmental litigation frequently involves multiple parties—the government, a public interest group, and a member of the regulated industry. The Environmental Law Society manages this competition.
The Pro Bono Immigration Project allows students to work on immigration issues of non-citizens in the local community.
The Protective Order Project (POP) helps victims of domestic abuse obtain civil protective orders from the court with the ultimate goal of preventing further abuse.
The Tenant Assistance Project provides legal help to tenants facing immediate threat of eviction.
Sarah Jane Hughes
Hon. Michael Barnes
Hon. Elaine Brown
Hon. Mary Ellen Diekhoff
Hon. Marc Kellams
Hon. Nancy Vaidik