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Trial Practicum

Drake is the only American law school where all first-year classes shift to a campus courtroom for a week, enabling students to view an actual state or federal trial.

The First-Year Trial Practicum, held in the Law School's Neal and Bea Smith Law Center courtroom, dissects every phase of a trial, from jury selection to jury verdict.

Students observe cases dealing with burglary, involuntary manslaughter, homicide by vehicle-OWI, and more. The event incorporates small group discussions, lectures, practice panels, and debriefings with attorneys, jurors, and the judge.

The trial practicum introduces the law to students in a way that no textbook can ever quite capture. Most importantly, the event models the values of civility, professionalism, and public service essential to the legal system.

Past Case Examples

State of Iowa v. Sera Alexander  – The defendant was charged with killing her stepfather.

State of Iowa v. Bernard Montez Davis – A case accusing the defendant of burglary in the third degree.

State of Iowa v. Phankhy Pongxayavong – This case involved a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

State of Iowa v. Andrea LaForge – This case involved homicide by vehicle-OWI, homicide by vehicle-reckless, and involuntary manslaughter.

State of Iowa v. Linda Wilson – The defendant was charged with theft in the second degree and theft in the third degree, both felonies.

State of Iowa v. John Molloy – A first-degree murder trial.

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