Our firm-wide commitment to growing great trial lawyers begins with our First Chair: Robins Kaplan Trial Academy — a nationally recognized training curriculum. First Chair is designed to develop the next generation of world-class trial attorneys by providing vigorous advocacy training conducted by our most experienced partners. It is offered as a six-year curriculum that is conducted in three phases:

Phase I - Oral Arguments, Depositions, Negotiations
Throughout this phase, junior associates have opportunities to conduct mock depositions, oral arguments, and negotiations. Participants receive immediate feedback from sitting judges and partners that enhances their structured approaches and deliveries.

Phase II - Basic Jury Trials
In this course, mid-level associates develop courtroom skills that enable them to effectively try cases in front of judges and juries. The program is taught using a breach of contract file and emphasizes skill development in opening and closing statements, evidence, impeachment, rehabilitation, and direct and cross examinations.

Phase III - Complex Jury Trials
For our senior associates we take the Phase II case file one step further and include opportunities to work with experts, conduct adverse examinations, and calculate damages. These complex trials are conducted in front of juries, judges, and partners and round out the complete trial experience for our skilled associates.


Matthew L. Woods


Chair of Firm's Professional Development Committee

Back to Top