Advanced Trial Advocacy




Dates: Monday, May 21 - Friday, May 25, 2018
Location: Blewett School of Law - University of Montana

For Registration Questions: Contact Sara Kryder, Blewett School of Law, at (406) 243-5730
For Program Questions: Contact Karen Stephan, Boone Karlberg P.C., at (406) 543-6646

The Advanced Trial Advocacy Program is an intensive hands-on course in trial advocacy offering techniques and tips from jury selection to closing arguments. An outstanding group of Montana trial lawyers and judges will demonstrate skills and critique your performance.

The 2018 Advanced Trial Advocacy topics are:

  • Effective Jury Selection
  • Compelling Opening Statements
  • Creating Dynamic Trial Visuals
  • Courtroom Communication Techniques
  • Basic Trial and Deposition Skills
  • Formulating a Direct Examination Strategy
  • Art of Cross Examination
  • Presenting and Attacking Expert Testimony
  • Persuasive Closing Arguments
  • Ethics Lecture

During the week, you will see demonstrations of trial skills by the faculty and have your performances videotaped and critiqued by them. You will try a case sometimes representing the plaintiff and sometimes representing the defendant. You will prepare and present voir dire, an opening statement, a closing argument, and conduct direct, cross, and redirect examinations of fact and expert witnesses. You will learn about effective jury selection and how to use visual aids to enhance your persuasiveness.

Course Study Case and Schedule

2018 Case Summary
2018 Case File
2018 Schedule of Events

Registration Information

Enrollment is limited to 36 participants. When the 36 seats are filled, a waiting list will be kept in the event of cancellations.

This registration fee includes instruction, materials, and continental breakfast.

Refund Policy: A full refund is available if the cancellation is received by May 4, 2018. Cancellations will be refunded less a $100 processing fee if received after May 4, 2016. Cancellations will not be accepted after May 14, 2016. Attendee substitutions are welcomed.

Scholarship Information

Thanks to the generous donation from the Foundation of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Montana Chapter of ABOTA, there is a portion of scholarship assistance available to assist public interest lawyers. Public Interest Lawyers are defined as those lawyers working for a state or local prosecutors’ office, the Office of the Public Defender, for Montana Legal Services, for Tribal Government, or for a state agency if that lawyer is involved in trial work.

Depending on the number of qualified applicants, at most, scholarship assistance will offset one-half of the cost of the tuition amount.

To apply, the potential applicant should address a letter to Dean Paul Kirgis at the Blewett School of Law, with a copy to the Honorable Karen S. Townsend explaining 1) why they need scholarship assistance, 2) what they hope to get from attending this program, and 3) how attending this program will enhance their ability to work in their current position. Applicants must also note that their respective agency or they themselves will be able to cover the rest of the tuition amount as well as other associated costs. Please also include a copy of your recent resume. The scholarship application deadline was Friday, April 20; if you have further inquiries about scholarships, please contact Sara Kryder, director of communications & events, at (406) 243-5730. 

Advanced Trial Advocacy Program Faculty

Hon. Elizabeth A. Best

Eighth Judicial District, was appointed to the bench in March 2016 and won election (to retain) in November 2016. After earning her law degree from the University of Montana School of Law, Judge Best served in the U.S. Army JAGC.  Upon return to Montana, she clerked for U.S. District Judge Paul Hatfield and then entered private practice.  Judge Best is a past president of the Montana Trial Lawyers Association and was named MTLA Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2008.

L. Randall "Randy" Bishop, Esq.

Partner, Bishop, Heenan & Davies (Missoula, Montana office).  University of Montana School of Law (J.D. with honors 1977).  Adjunct Professor, Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana (Torts, 2015; Products Liability, 2017 & 2018).  Member, Supreme Court Commission on Civil Jury Instructions (MPI Commission, 1985 - present).  Member/Secretary, Judicial Nomination Commission (1997-2005).  President/ Member, American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Montana Chapter.  Past President/Member, Montana Trial Lawyer’s Association.  Past President, Montana Defense Trial Lawyers Association.  Listed, AV Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell, Best Lawyers in America (1993-present), Mountain States Super Lawyers (2008-present). Honors and Awards, 2017 ABOTA (National) Professional Education Award, MTLA Career Achievement Award (2014), Yellowstone Area Bar Association Professionalism Award (2007), MTLA Appellate Advocacy Award (2003), MTLA Public Service Award (1996).  Randy maintains a limited civil trial and appellate practice in Missoula.

Kevin Boully, Ph.D.

Senior litigation consultant with Persuasion Strategies in Denver, Colorado.  Dr. Boully has been active in litigation consulting for more than 17 years.  His Ph.D. in legal communication focused on the psychology of persuasion in litigation and jury decision making; his M.A. in forensic psychology emphasized the study of small group dynamics and influence.  Dr. Boully has led jury research, assisted in the jury selection, and provided strategic advice to trial counsel on a full range of cases.  He has been Associate Editor of The Jury Expert, the professional publication of the American Society of Trial Consultants.  Dr. Boully is an avid writer and public speaker and is the co-author of a book entitled Patently Persuasive published by the American Bar Association.  Kevin is actively involved in trial advocacy skills training and has been a faculty member on a variety of trial advocacy programs.  He has spoken to audiences through the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), the American College of Trial Lawyers (Northwest Region), the American Bar Association, various state Bar Associations, and more.  In the past 17 years, Kevin and his colleagues have worked on significant Montana litigation matters and have studied hundreds of jurors and mock jurors in the Northwest United States through interviews, surveys, and mock trials and focus groups.  Outside of work, Kevin likes to fly-fish, climb mountains, and watch his dogs hog the furniture with his wife and two young daughters.  Kevin formerly lived in Montana and returns every year to visit friends and enjoy the outdoors.  

Ronald H. Clark, Esq.

Professor Ronald H. Clark is a nationally known lecturer, author and Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at Seattle University Law School. Mr. Clark has lectured at over 40 national courses and for numerous bar associations and prosecutor associations across the country.  He has conducted international training for the Department of Justice in Bosnia and Kosovo.  The Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys awarded Mr. Clark the President’s Award of Merit.  He has been awarded both the Distinguished Faculty Award and a Lecturer of Merit Award by the National College of District Attorneys as well as the Dean’s Award of Honor.  For 27 years, Mr. Clark was in the King County Prosecutor’s office in Seattle, Washington, where he served as a senior deputy prosecutor, Assistant Chief in charge of the trial teams and, for ten years, as Chief Deputy of the Criminal Division leading over 115 attorneys.  Next, he was the Senior Training Counsel at the then newly built National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina.  Professor Clark has co-authored Jury Selection Handbook; Trial Advocacy, 4th edition; Pretrial Advocacy, 5th edition; Evidence Skills; Cross-Examination Handbook, 2nd edition; and Opening Statement and Closing Argument.  He also served as the Chief Author for the Criminal Trial Practice and Techniques chapter of the Washington Practice Manual.  He was a member of the blue ribbon American Bar Association Task Force that formulated the Prosecution and Defense Function Standards.

Michael D. Cok, Esq.

Founding partner, Cok Kinzler PLLP, Bozeman, Montana. The University of Montana School of Law (J.D. with honors 1978).  Sustaining member, Montana Trial Lawyers Association, 1979-present (board member, 1989-2013; president, 1998-1999); sustaining member, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, 1981-present; Trial Lawyers for Public Justice; Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers and ABOTA member. Listed in Best Lawyers in America; Super Lawyers; Top 100 National Trial Lawyers; Best Law Firms in Montana by U.S. News & World Report; Top Mountain States Attorneys; member of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference (2005-2008); and a member of Montana Supreme Court’s Commission on Evidence.  He is an active trial lawyer specializing in civil litigation, primarily representing individuals in products liability, environmental contamination and insurance related claims.  His clients have received over $100 million in verdicts and settlements.

Triel D. Culver, Esq.

Triel D. Culver was born in Anchorage, Alaska, raised in Helena, Montana, and graduated from Helena Senior High School in 1983. He received his college degree in political science from Middlebury College in Vermont (B.A. 1988) and received his law degree from the University of Montana (J.D. 1993). Triel began his law career as a judicial law clerk and then as a Deputy County Attorney where he first developed his trial skills in jury trials. For the next ten years, he defended interstate Class I and short-line railroads in FELA and crossing accident litigation developing a considerable civil jury trial practice. In June 2004, Triel joined Cliff Edwards’ law firm and his practice since has been focused on plaintiff’s civil litigation helping Montana workers, consumers, landowners, whistle blowers, and injured families. Triel also represents Montana businesses in commercial litigation including claims involving breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, patent and copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation, and unfair competition. In 2007, Cliff and Triel obtained a jury verdict of $21,454,539 in Ammondson v. NorthWestern Corporation, 220 P.3d 1 (Mont. 2009) on behalf of former Montana Power Company employees representing the 87th largest verdict nationally that year and one of the largest ever in Montana.

Kathleen "Katie" L. DeSoto, Esq.

Partner, Garlington, Lohn & Robinson PLLP in Missoula, Montana.  Before entering private practice in 2001, she clerked for Chief United States District Court Judge Jack D. Shanstrom in Billings, Montana.  Her practice focuses on civil litigation, with an emphasis in insurance coverage and liability defense, defense of unfair claims practices act cases, school liability defense, legal malpractice defense and federal criminal defense.  She is listed in Chambers USA, Mountain States Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers, and is a Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representative.

Professor Cynthia Ford

Cynthia Ford is a Professor at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana.  She graduated from Cornell Law School (J.D. cum laude) in 1978, and worked for Crowley, Haughey, Hanson, Toole & Dietrich from 1978-1983 and Davis, Wright & Jones in Seattle, Washington from 1983-1988. She had a solo practice in Bainbridge Island, Washington from 1988-1990, then served as Chief Judge, Suquamish Tribal Court from 1988-1990 and Associate Justice, Confederated Salish & Kootenai Court of Appeals from 1997-2000.  A member of the law school faculty since 1990, Professor Ford teaches Civil Procedure I and II, Evidence, Family Law and Remedies.  She served as the co-coach of the law school’s Trial Team for 22 years.  She is the author of the “Montana Civil Pleading and Practice Formbook” and, during her sabbatical from 2012-2013, worked on the “Montana Evidence Handbook.”  She is also the author of “Evidence Corner” in the Montana Lawyer magazine.

Sean P. Goicoechea, Esq.

Partner, Moore, Cockrell, Goicoechea & Johnson,  P.C., Kalispell, Montana.  The University of Montana School of Law (J.D. 2000).  Intern, United States District Court for the District of Montana, Judge Donald Molloy, 1998-2000.  Montana Defense Trial Lawyers; Association of Ski Defense Attorneys, 2001-2013.  Attorney Representative for the U.S. District Court Attorney Admissions Fund Advisory Committee, 2008-2012.  Selected as 2008-2012 Super Lawyers Mountain States Rising Stars; 2013-2015 Super Lawyers Medical Malpractice Defense.  AV rated (Martindale).  Recognized in Chambers/Partners and Benchmark Litigation.  Member, American Board of Trial Advocates.  Experience litigating and trying cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice, civil rights, and ski areas liability.

Steven J. Harman, Esq.

Steve Harman is a patient advocate in healthcare negligence cases who was awarded “Trial Lawyer of the Year for 2012-2013” by the Montana Trial Lawyers Association.  Steve obtained the largest verdict in eastern Montana in a medical malpractice case.  He has been selected by his peers to memberships in the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocacy.  The Martindale Hubbell Lawyers’ Directory ranks Steve in its highest category for competency and ethics.  For the first 25 years of his practice, Steve defended civil suits, including the representation of healthcare providers throughout Montana.  He served as President of the Montana Defense Trial Lawyers association.  Steve serves on the faculty of the University of Montana Law School Advanced Trial Advocacy Program, which is a week-long program to train trial lawyers held on the Missoula campus each spring.  He helped draft the rule on Appellate Alternative Dispute Resolution for the Montana Supreme Court, and sat on the committee to review new rules for the Montana Medical Legal Panel which were recently adopted.  Steve has written and lectured in the area of trial practice for nearly 40 years.  Steve maintains his office in Billings, Montana.

Matthew B. Hayhurst, Esq.

Shareholder, Boone Karlberg P.C. Missoula, Montana.  The University of Montana School of Law (J.D., with high honors, 1998); Clerk for Hon. James Browning, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1998–1999); Associate Attorney, Perkins Coie, Product Liability Litigation Group, Seattle, WA (1999-2002); Boone Karlberg P.C. (2002-present); Adjunct Professor of Federal Courts, University of Montana School of Law (2013-2014); Member, American Board of Trial Advocates; AV Preeminent rating (Martindale); Recognized in Mountain States Top 100, Super Lawyers, Chambers/Partners and Benchmark Litigation (2007-2017).  Experience litigating and trying personal injury, insurance, railroad and product liability cases.

Thomas D. Henderson, Esq.

Retired Administrative Assistant District Attorney General for the 30th Judicial District in Memphis, Tennessee.  Administrative Assistant for Criminal Courts (2005-2016); Chief Prosecutor for the General Sessions and Juvenile Court (2001-2004); Director for the Violent Crimes Prosecuting Unit (1999-2001); Division Leader (1980-1999); Assistant District Attorney General (1976-2016); Recipient of the Association of Government Attorneys in Capital Litigation Region IV Vice President’s Trial Award in 1997 and 1992, the National College of District Attorneys Distinguished Faculty Award in 1985, and the NCDA Lecturer of Merit Award in 1984; Law Instructor, Memphis Police Department Training Academy (2017 to present).

Natasha Prinzing Jones, Esq.

Shareholder, Boone Karlberg P.C., Missoula, Montana.  The University of Montana School of Law (J.D. with honors 2000).  Boone, Karlberg & Haddon, P.C., 2000-2001, Clerk for Hon. Sam E. Haddon, U.S. District Court Judge, 2001-2002, Boone Karlberg P.C., 2002-present. Named 2012 Top 250 Women in Litigation (Benchmark); Mountain States Super Lawyers, 2008-2015; Best Lawyers, 2011-2015; 2012 Bar Registry of Preeminent Women Lawyers (Martindale); AV rated (Martindale); Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2007-2015.  Experience in civil litigation, including FELA law and insurance defense.

Michael L. Lessmeier, Esq.

Mr. Lessmeier is a 1976 graduate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he was recognized for outstanding achievement in the Department of Speech, Drama and Radio, and a 1979 graduate of the Willamette University College of Law.  He has been practicing law in Alaska since 1979 and has been actively trying cases to juries in Alaska since 1981.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (past Alaska State Chair) and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He has been Board Certified in Civil Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1991.  Reported cases he has tried to verdict include Pagenkopf v. Chatham Electric Co.,165 P.3d 634 (Alaska 2007); Cummins v. Nelson, 115 P.3d 536 (Alaska 2005); Lyons v. Midnight Sun Transp. Services, Inc., 928 P.2d 1202 (Alaska 1996); Blumenshine v. Baptiste, 869 P.2d 470 (Alaska 1994) and Beck v. State, Dept. of Transp. and Public Facilities, 837 P.2d 105 (Alaska 1992).  Almost all of Mr. Lessmeier’s career has been devoted to civil trial advocacy and over the course of that career he has successfully handled hundreds of litigated cases.  He regularly represents physicians, hospitals, lawyers and a wide variety of individuals and businesses.  He tried to verdict McLean v.  Leader Insurance Co., in which the jury returned a verdict in excess of $12 million dollars in favor of his client.  He was a member of the team that successfully represented the Alaska Retirement Board in its ground breaking actuarial litigation, which resulted in a settlement of $500 million dollars.  With the Alaska Attorney General’s office, he represented the Alaska Marine Highway System in its successful fast ferry litigation.  He does pro bono work for the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.  While his primary interest is civil trial work, Mr. Lessmeier has represented clients on legislative and administrative issues and in the course of that representation has testified extensively before the Alaska legislature on insurance issues and issues relating to Alaska’s civil justice system.  He was appointed in 2000 to the Alaska Redistricting Board and as an independent member of that Board successfully fought for a unanimous statewide redistricting plan.  The redistricting cases are reported at 44 P.3d 141 and 47 P.3d 1089.  He was co-chair of Governor Parnell’s public safety and justice transition team in 2010. Mr. Lessmeier has been an invited presenter on civil litigation issues for the Alaska Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education Program.  Most recently, in February of 2015, he organized the trial advocacy demonstrations and presentations by the Alaska Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers for the 17th Annual Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault CLE.

Jason Marks, Esq.

Jason Marks is the Chief Deputy County Attorney for Missoula County.  A Missoula native, he graduated from Temple University law school in 2005.  After law school, he returned to Missoula and served as an Assistant Public Defender for two years before joining the Missoula County Attorney’s Office in 2007.  At the Missoula County Attorney’s office, he prosecuted the full range of felony cases until 2014 when he was promoted to supervise the newly created Special Victims Unit focused on domestic and sexual violence prosecutions.  Jason was appointed as Chief Deputy County Attorney in 2015.  In his position, he supervises both the criminal and civil divisions of the Missoula County Attorney’s Office and maintains a trial caseload. 

Hon. Michael G. Moses

District Court Judge, 13th Judicial District for the State of Montana, 2014-Present.  University of Montana (B.A.1974); Lewis & Clark Law School (J.D. 1978); Moses Law Firm 1978-2014, Billings, MT.  Yellowstone Area Bar Association President 2000.  Longtime member, American Bar Association, State Bar of Montana and Montana Trial Lawyers.  Admitted to practice in the State of Montana, October 1978.  U.S. Dist. Court for Montana, January 1979.  U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Cir., March 1979.  U.S. Court of Claims August 1983.  Chief Judge, 13th Judicial District Court, 2017-2018.   

Harry H. Schneider, Esq.

Litigation partner with Seattle law firm Perkins Coie LLP.  He has been with Perkins since 1979 and has tried over 50 cases and otherwise represented many of the firm’s clients, including Amazon, ASCAP, Blue Nile, Boeing, Burlington Northern, Dale Chihuly, Electronic Arts, Craig McCaw, Nintendo, Puget Sound Energy, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Van Halen, Vulcan and its owner Paul Allen, and Weyerhauser.  His experience includes lawsuits involving copyright and patent infringement, contract disputes, personal injury, fiduciary duty, trust and estate, accounting and legal malpractice, will contests, real estate, criminal law, regulatory compliance, and product liability.  Mr. Schneider is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Chicago Law School.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a Board Member of the International Society of Barristers.  At Perkins, he has been General Counsel, a member of the Management Committee, a member of the Executive Committee, Chair of the Partner Compensation Committee, and Chair of the Professional Standards Committee.  He serves on the Board of Directors of the Attorneys’ Liability Assurance Society, Inc., has chaired the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability, and is a past President of the King County Bar Foundation Board of Trustees.  He is incoming President of the King County Bar Association Board of Trustees for the 2018-19 term.  He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) in Boulder, Colorado.  Mr. Schneider is active in pro bono work and trial advocacy teaching.  He was lead counsel for Osama bin Laden’s driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, the first detainee tried before the military tribunal at Guantanamo whose case resulted in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, regarding the limits of executive power.  He also sits on the Board of Directors of Justice Advocacy Africa and has taught trial advocacy at the Kenya School of Law in Nairobi and Mombasa, and at the University of Botswana.

John E. Smith, Esq.

University of Montana. Graduated from the University of Montana School of Law, with honors, in 1987. Admitted to the Montana Bar and the U.S. District Court, District of Montana in 1987, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit in 1993.  Member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers since 1989. Founding and lifetime member of the Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers since 1996. Served as secretary/treasurer, vice president, and a two-year term as president of the MtACDL, finishing term as president in February 2003. Elected treasurer of the Montana Chapter of the Federal Bar Association in November 2003, and remain in this position. Attended Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer College at the Thunderhead Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming, June-July 2000.  Specializing in criminal defense, trials and appellate work, in State and Federal courts in Montana as part of his small law firm in downtown Missoula, Montana, Smith & Stephens, PC.

Hon. Karen S. Townsend

District Court Judge, 4th Judicial District for the State of Montana, 2011-present.  Ohio Wesleyan University (B.A. 1964); University of California (M.A. 1965); University of Montana School of Law (J.D. with honors 1976); Deputy County Attorney, Missoula County Attorney’s Office, 1976-1980; Chief Staff Attorney, County Prosecutor’s Services Bureau, Montana Department of Justice, 1980-December 1981; Senior Deputy County Attorney, Missoula County Attorney’s Office, 1982-1988; Director of Training, National College of District Attorneys, 1988-1990; Senior Deputy County Attorney, Missoula County Attorney’s Office, 1990-1998; Chief Deputy County Attorney Missoula County Attorney’s Office, 1998-December 2006; Special Assistant United States Attorney, 1984-1988, 1990-2006; Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers; Named a Super Lawyer for the Northwest Region; Western Montana Bar’s Outstanding Lawyer, 1994; Named winner of the YWCA’s Salute to Excellence Award for Public Service. 1996; Awarded Distinguished Faculty Award from the National College of District Attorneys, in June 2006; Member, American Bar Association; State Bar of Montana; Member, Montana Supreme Court Commission on Criminal Jury Instructions; Faculty Member, University of Montana Advanced Trial Advocacy Program, 1992-2001, Director of Program, 2002-present; co-coach of University of Montana’s Trial Advocacy Competition team 1998-2010, primary coach, 2010-2012; extensive local, state and national trial advocacy teaching experience.


Communication Faculty

Samuel Boerboom, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, MSPR program director, Department of Communication and Theatre, Montana State University Billings. Faculty member and coordinator, SPEAK2compete Summer Speech Institute (formerly Gustavus Adolphus College Summer Speech Institute). Regular presenter at the National Communication Association, Western States Communication Association, and Rhetorical Society of America conventions. Areas of expertise include public advocacy, rhetoric and public affairs, political communication, ethics, and mass/social media and coalition-building.

Nikki R. Schaubel, M.S.

Independent Communication and Trial Consultant. Background in public relations, court administration, organizational communication and public speaking. Fellow, National Center for State Courts Institute for Court Management.

Melinda C. Tilton, M.A.

University Lecturer, Montana State University Billings, Department of Communication (1990-present), and Independent Communication and Trial Consultant. Communication and leadership trainer for organizations, including the Montana Bar Association, Billings Fire Department, Hospice, and Montana Nutrition Association and KOA. Areas of expertise include public speaking, group dynamics, interpersonal, and intercultural communication. Ms. Tilton is the recipient of the University of Montana, Advanced Trial Advocacy Distinguished Faculty Award, 1999, 2001; MSU-Billings Faculty Excellence Award, 2009; Students of MSU-Billings, Outstanding Faculty Award, 2012-2013; MSU-Billings Faculty Excellence Award for Promoting International Student Success, 2015.