ABOTA stands for the American Board of Trial Advocates. It is a national association of trial lawyers and judges. Every year ABOTA partners with a law firm to put on the trial school. Here, members of ABOTA agree to volunteer in a three-day trial school. Various law firms then send associates to come participate. Members of ABOTA basically teach the associates how to be awesome in litigation. Days 1-3 takes the students through each aspect of trial, from opening statements to jury selection through closing arguments. During the school, judges and lawyers with years of experience tell the students about some tips and personal experience in law school, life, and in the courtroom.
Luckily, I eagerly jumped at this experience to get involved. Throughout the summer I helped with some preliminary planning such as contacting law firms and ABOTA members, setting the schedule, and creating the student packets. At the end of summer, I was able to attend the trial school. Besides running around making sure the trial school was running smoothly, I was also able to meet all the participants and listen in on the trial school activities. Besides filling [more than] my 40 hour pro-bono requirement, I had an amazing opportunity to pick the brains of the experienced lawyers and judges. I also had an opportunity to talk to associates who were not so far removed from where I am now.
Volunteering for the trial school was an amazing and unique experience. It was a great opportunity to meet people in the industry and to learn the intricacies of trial in a fun setting. I highly recommend keeping tabs on Loyola emails and finding a pro-bono requirement that is both interesting and different.