Author: Sara Jacobson

Top Gun XI Trial Advocacy Competition | A Q&A with Eric Love LAW ’20 and Lauren Doig LAW ’21

The below is excerpted from conversation held about a week after Eric Love competed in the Top Gun XI Trial Advocacy competition. Eric was supported by his second chair, Lauren Doig, and his coach, Professor Sara Jacobson. Top Gun is a unique tournament, giving only 24 hours to prepare before a lone advocate tries both the plaintiff and defense side of the case. This competition was also unique because it was the first full mock trial tournament conducted wholly online. It was conducted one week after George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis as a weekend of protests and unrest swept the country. Eric and Lauren won the professionalism award for the tournament for the issues they faced during the final round. Eric, Lauren, and Professor Jacobson were working out of a rented apartment suite on the 7th floor at 15th and Chestnut. Eric’s final round began about 4pm. He and Lauren were unaware that blocks away, civil protest had turned to civil unrest at Philadelphia’s City Hall and that looting, small fires, and …

A Day at the High Court of Uganda

For most of this program, I am the sole lecturer, and our days are taken up with typical Trial Advocacy coursework – directs and crosses; openings and closings; basic trial skills; depositions and mediation.  This past Thursday morning, however, the program brought in a guest speaker to speak about technological developments related to African courts.  While I’m sure I could have learned a great deal from the speaker, I used this as an opportunity to sneak off to the Ugandan High Court. The High Court building is surrounded by a high, guarded gate and barbed wire, but is open to the public nonetheless.  The High Court serves as the trial court level for significant criminal cases in Kampala, the Ugandan capital.  Lesser criminal offences start off in magistrate courts elsewhere.  I am told the High Court hears appeals as well. Still, given that the population of Kampala is a little larger than Philadelphia, the building struck me as small.  As near as I could find, there were only 6 courtrooms, and only one of them …

Juvenile Justice

Juveniles to Appeal Life Sentences Following Ruling

Professor Sara Jacobson is quoted in this article by The Temple News on juveniles in Philadelphia who will appeal life sentences in light of the recent US Supreme Court decision in Montgomery v. Louisiana. Jacobson notes that some of the legislation issues still need to be worked out, and comments on why not all juveniles will get a second chance at freedom in light of the decision. Read the Full Story