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July 22, 2010 — Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney held a mock trial exercise yesterday, July 21, 2010, as part of the firm's trial practice training program, which was rolled out this past spring and consisted of a series of CLE sessions designed to provide associates "real" experience in the courtroom. The Honorable Christine L. Donohue of the Pennsylvania Superior Court presided over the mock courtroom. The trial took place from noon to 4 p.m. in the firm's Pittsburgh office, and the proceedings were simulcast to the firm's other offices across the country. More than 75 attorneys and professionals participated or observed in the trial.

"There was a tremendous effort put into this mock trial exercise as well as the CLE sessions leading up to it," stated Buchanan's CEO and managing shareholder Jack Barbour. "In line with our Litigation Section's strategic plan, which emphasizes meaningful training, the goal of the program was to train our associates to be trial lawyers, not conference call lawyers or small "l" litigators. We want our young people working hard on real cases, but we also want them to train hard in realistic exercises where our senior lawyers and practice leaders can provide them with meaningful and constructive feedback so that they can grow and develop the skills we and they need to succeed."

The program was developed by a number of Buchanan's Litigation shareholders from different office locations under the leadership of Craig Mills, chair of the firm's Business Litigation and Trial Practice Group. The in-house CLE lectures leading up to Wednesday's event focused on various aspects of trial advocacy, including opening and closing arguments, direct testimony, cross examination, expert testimony, and exhibit handling skills.

For the mock trial, six associates from Buchanan's offices in Harrisburg, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., acted as counsel for the plaintiff and defendant while four shareholders served as their mentors during the process. Both teams argued their cases before a real judge and jury using real-life elements, such as state-of-the-art courtroom technology from the firm's Litigation support platform and a court reporter.

The New York office's managing shareholder Stuart I. Slotnick, who served as a mentor for the defense team, stated, "This program gave our younger associates a chance to take a lead role in trial litigation and gain insights from seasoned trial lawyers. They were eager to participate and apply what they learned in a 'real' setting."