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By Ali Mashraf

The Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) of the United States Department of Justice organized a two-day workshop on ‘Techniques and Skills in Writing Legal Briefs and Oral Advocacy’ at the American Center, Dhaka from August 13-14, 2018. The workshop aimed to train up the students aspiring to pursue careers in the legal arena as well as to participate in national and international moot court competitions. More than 40 law students and accompanying faculty members from various universities of Bangladesh attended the workshop.

Ms. Kelly Zusman, the Appellate Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Oregon conducted the workshop. Furthermore, Mr. Gregory V Davis, Intermittent Legal Advisor, U.S. Department of Justice, Mr. Eric Opanga, Resident Legal Advisor, U.S. Department of Justice, and Ms. Gazi Sangita Farzana, Assistant Legal Advisor, U.S. Department of Justice – OPDAT Bangladesh were present at the workshop and shared their views with the participants.

The first day of the workshop focused on the techniques of legal writing and research skills. Ms. Kelly Zusman trained the participants on the methods of drafting and editing case briefs in order to present a winning memorial in a moot court competition. Afterward, Mr. Gregory Davis conducted a session on the techniques of effective legal research. In his session, he mainly focused on searching relevant case laws from multiple legal databases promptly.

The next day of the workshop was dedicated to oral argumentation. Ms. Kelly Zusman shared her insights on presenting arguments to the judges. To supplement their learning from this session, the students also viewed various clips from the proceedings of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the global finals of the previous editions of Jessup Moot Court Competition. Analyzing those clips helped the participants develop an idea on presenting arguments as well as responding to tough questions in the courtroom.

Throughout the workshop, the participants interacted with the facilitators and voiced out their queries. They addressed the common problems in preparing for moot court competitions and the means to overcome those hurdles. This was a fantastic learning opportunity for the participants. The takeaways from this workshop will immensely help them on their journey to become better legal professionals as well as ace mooting competitions at home and abroad in future.


Ali Mashraf is the Special Correspondent of The FutureLaw Initiative and one of the participants in this workshop.