After two-years of virtual trial academies occurring in cyber space, some sixty participants were able to meet again in-person at Vermont Law School for a full day of work on trial skills on Friday, July 29.
A beautiful summer day was the backdrop for the program which gave lawyers a chance to present a variety of trial segments in a criminal, a civil, or a family court mock-trial setting.
Each participating lawyer was critiqued by either U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Kevin Doyle, Vermont Supreme Court Justice Harold Eaton, or one the judges from Vermont Superior Court: Mary Miles Teachout (ret.), Sam Hoar, Cortland Corsones, and John Treadwell. Well-known Vermont litigators, Nicole Andreson, Ritchie Berger, Dan Burchard, David Cleary, Bill Leckerling, and Jim Spink were paired with the judges and also offered thoughtful critiques for the participants. In addition to providing critiques, several of the volunteers also addressed the group about how to handle different aspects of trials. Nicole Andreson spoke about effective opening statements, Judge Hoar gave his insights on direct examinations, Ritchie Berger addressed effective cross examinations, and David Cleary gave a memorable talk about closing arguments.
The Young Lawyers Division once again provided witnesses to act in numerous parts. Thanks to YLD members Danielle Bradtmiller, Vanessa Brown, Vikki Chase, Caryn Connolly, Pam Eaton, Laura Savall, Nigel Tibbles, Paul Quackenbush, and Breanna Weaver for their time and talents. VLS students served as timekeepers in each courtroom. Thanks to Molly Buckley, Tatum Daily, Natalie May, Isabella Montaya, and Nicholas Tonti for keeping track of each presentation. VLS students Stephanie Piccininni and Callum LaFrance also provided valuable assistance to the organizers.
The Trial Academy was developed by Court Administrator Teri Corsones during her recently completed tenure as executive director of the VBA. Though she has left the VBA, Corsones again organized the judges and practitioners and coordinated the day. There was a general outpouring of gratitude from all concerned for her work on Trial Academy 2022. She, in turn, thanked the many volunteers personally and with her trademark baked goods.