Widener Law litigation skills program looks at high-profile cases, psychology of jury decision making and more
Public Relations - Published: March 7, 2014
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Widener Law will welcome the expert defense counsel and presiding judge from one of Philadelphia’s most notorious criminal trials as part of a daylong program on its Delaware campus that is designed to build litigation skills in attorneys.

Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart and attorney Jack J. McMahon will use their experiences from the trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell to discuss issues that accompany high-profile cases, such as pre-trial and trial publicity, dealing with emotions in the courtroom, strategies in jury selection and more. Gosnell is serving life terms for the murders of three babies born alive during botched late-term procedures. He was also convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a female patient who received too much anesthetic.

Their presentation will be part of the school’s first Advanced Litigation Skills conference, set for Friday, March 21 from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom. Widener Law is located at 4601 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Del. Minehart and McMahon will speak from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

The event, presented by the school’s Taishoff Advocacy, Technology and Public Service Institute under the direction of Professor Jules Epstein, will also include discussions by academics and other attorneys on:
  • Cognitive psychology relating to eyewitness memory, questioning of suspects and witnesses, and jury decision making, presented by Widener University Professor Suzanne Mannes.
  • Expert witness selection, presented by former Judge Joseph R. Slights III.
  • Witness impeachment, presented by attorneys John Dodds, Sam Silver and Mary DeFusco.
  • The use of technology in the courtroom, including demonstrations, presented by Widener Visiting Professor of Law Richard K. Herrmann.
  • Rules of evidence, presented by Epstein.
[ Download the full brochure outlining the events of the day ]

Attorneys from Delaware and Pennsylvania who attend will be eligible for six continuing legal education credits. New Jersey attorneys can self report for credit with a Widener Law certificate of attendance.

The cost to attend for credit is $125 or $100 for Widener Law alumni or public interest/government attorneys, and includes continental breakfast and lunch. It is free for students and members of the public not seeking credit, without materials or meals. For more information, or to register, contact Carol Perrupato at 302.477.2178 or caperrupato@widener.edu.