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Taishoff Advocacy, Technology and Public Service Institute

The Taishoff Advocacy, Technology, and Public Service Institute offers programs focused on the advocacy and technology skills needed to succeed in the field of criminal law. The Institute provides Delaware Law students opportunities to advance litigation skills while preparing to defend future clients.

The Taishoff Advocacy, Technology, and Public Service Institute teaches law students about the trial process from initial client interviews through summation. The institute offers a variety of specialized courses and seminars, a nationally recognized Intensive Trial Advocacy Program, and opportunities for students to participate in interscholastic advocacy competitions coached by skilled practitioners. The institute also offers continuing legal education in advocacy skills and theory.

About the Taishoff Advocacy, Technology, and Public Service Institute

The home of Delaware Law’s criminal law program, the Taishoff Advocacy, Technology, and Public Service Institute began in 1988 as the Trial Advocacy Institute with the goal of teaching Juris Doctor (JD) candidates the necessary skills to represent clients accused of a crime in court and help individuals and communities through advocacy efforts.

After receiving a $1.2 million grant from the Taishoff Family Foundation in 2009, the institute changed its name and expanded its programs, scope, and course offerings. Today, through the Taishoff Institute, JD candidates receive training in basic forensic skills and the use of technology in the discovery phase and can concentrate their studies in criminal law in the process.

As one of Delaware Law’s signature programs, the Taishoff Institute educates aspiring trial lawyers on the key skills needed to advocate for others in the courtroom. Taught by professors with criminal law expertise and practice experience, this program equips students with the core competencies of the trial process from start to finish. JD candidates interested in pursuing a career in criminal law learn how to:

  • conduct initial client interviews
  • question witnesses
  • prepare pre-trial motions, discovery requests, opening statements, closing arguments, and summation

Students use these skills to develop into competent, ethical, and responsible professionals ready to advocate on behalf of their clients.

Criminal Law Concentration

Delaware Law’s signature programs help JD candidates pave their educational path to a rewarding career through specialized coursework and experiential opportunities. Through the Taishoff Institute, students prepare to work as a federal or state prosecutor, public defender, or private defense attorney by taking criminal law–focused electives that culminate in a trial advocacy specialty and concentration.

Full-time and adjunct faculty members present lectures on topics involving the death penalty, electronic surveillance and privacy, forensic science, and criminal law advocacy, while electives allow JD candidates to learn more about specialized areas like white collar crime, cybercrime, and advanced criminal issues. Along with this knowledge, students hone their litigation and practice skills through experiential learning opportunities, where they work with clients to reach a plea deal, prepare for trial, gather evidence, and prepare legal arguments.

Experiential Learning

JD candidates pursuing a career in criminal law through the Taishoff Institute have the chance to supplement the knowledge acquired in the classroom with the following experiential learning opportunities:

Intensive Trial Advocacy Program

Once the spring semester examinations conclude, JD candidates participate in a seven-day course designed to improve their trial advocacy skills. Experienced trial attorneys, judges, and law professors train all participants on the fundamentals of representing clients in court, covering theory development, witness examination, opening statements, and closing arguments in detail. Students then put this information into practice through a simulated jury trial.

Moe Levine Trial Advocacy Honor Society

Delaware Law’s trial teams allow aspiring criminal lawyers to continue to refine their courtroom skills. In the process, JD candidates broaden their knowledge of the competencies needed to successfully represent a client while participating in workshops and training sessions and preparing for regional and national mock trial competitions.


Second- and third-year students see the workings of the court system firsthand. Externships place JD candidates interested in criminal law with state and local prosecuting attorneys, public defenders, legal services lawyers, and government agencies, where they conduct legal research, assist with client interviews, and draft documents for judges.

Learn More About Studying Criminal Law Through the Taishoff Advocacy, Technology, and Public Service Institute

If your goal is to be a litigator in the field of criminal law, the Taishoff Advocacy, Technology, and Public Service Institute will provide the necessary tools. Contact Professor Judith Ritter to learn more, or fill out a request for information today.

Contact Information

Director: Professor Judith Ritter
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 302.477.2121