Welcome to Lawshelf’s video-course on Evidence. This course looks at the tapestry of rules that govern what information can be presented during criminal and civil proceedings. The course focuses primarily on the Federal Rules of Evidence. While state rules of evidence may vary, these represent a good indication of how the rules of evidence are generally likely to operate throughout the country.
This is an introductory-level course and the concepts are discussed in a manner that should be accessible even to those with no legal or litigation background.
Module 1 introduces the concept of evidence and discusses when and how evidentiary issues are decided. It looks at objections, stipulations, judicial notice, appeals and standards of review that comprise the backdrop of the way in which evidentiary rules are applied.
Module 2 deals with the fundamental principle of relevance. It discusses what evidence is relevant and when otherwise relevant evidence can be excluded due to danger of prejudice or other reasons. The module introduces the character evidence rule, which excludes evidence of character except in cases of clearly defined exceptions.
Module 3 continues the character evidence discussion with the many exceptions, conditions and rules related to character evidence discussed in Article 4 of the Federal Rules of Evidence.
Module 4 focuses on other rules of evidence, including authentication and the original documents rule. In other words, how does one know that evidence is what it purports to be? We’ll also look at privilege rules, which may exclude otherwise relevant evidence because of privileges, such as attorney-client, spousal and clergy-penitent.
Module 5 turns to the presentation of witness testimony. We’ll learn about the differences between “lay” witnesses and expert witnesses and discuss the types of questions that are allowed on direct and cross examination. We’ll also look at appropriate methods to impeach a witness’ testimony or credibility.
The last module looks at hearsay, the rule that precludes second-hand testimony. The rule has many exceptions and some of these are complex, so we’ll break these down as much as possible.
After completing this course, you should have a grasp on the way in which evidence is introduced, the reasons for many of the evidentiary limitations and on how the evidentiary rules are applied. This should also allow you to be more effective in helping to investigate and prepare for litigation, since you will better understand what information can make it to the jury.
Best of luck and we welcome your feedback.
What is a video-course?
A LawShelf video-course is an in-depth series of presentations on a discreet legal topic. LawShelf video-courses focus on practical legal information and applications and are each designed to familiarize the viewer with a legal topic quickly and efficiently.
Who should take a video-course?
Our video courses are designed for professionals such as attorneys, paralegals, corporate officers and financial professionals, as well as laypeople looking to deepen their knowledge of particular areas of law. The courses allow you to acquire the specific knowledge and skills that you need without the expense and time commitment of going “back to school” for a degree.
How do I learn?
Video courses are divided into 5 or 6 modules. Each module contains a video lesson (usually about 15 minutes long) and a series of self-test questions that you can use to practice and make sure that you understand the material.
How do I complete a video-course?
To complete a video-course, you must pass a 10-question multiple-choice examination by scoring 70% or higher. The questions on the exam are randomly selected from the self-test question sets for the various modules. You can retake an exam as many times as you need to, though you will not get the same questions each time since the questions are drawn from an exam bank.
How long will it take me to complete a video-course?
Between watching the modules, doing the self-test practice questions, reviewing the material and taking the final exam, we estimate that completing a video-course requires a time investment of 4-5 hours. The courses are designed to get straight to the point. We’re cognizant that your time is valuable, and we condense the information you need to know to comprehensively cover a subject into as little time as practical.
Is there limit to how many video-courses I can take or complete?
No. A LawShelf subscription enables you to access any and all LawShelf content, including all video-courses. You can take courses as quickly or slowly as your time allows.
Do I receive any recognition for completing a video-course?
Once you complete the course by passing the final exam, you will be awarded a digital badge to display as evidence of your training and accomplishment.
How will a digital badge help me?
Modern educational trends are moving away from traditional classroom-based course completion models and towards skills-based education. Employers today care more about skills than ever before. LawShelf digital badges conform to the Open Badge standard and are verifiable records of your skills that can easily be shared online.
How long do I retain access to the course materials?