Join our Volunteer Witness Program
The UCLA School of Law Volunteer Witness Program is unique in the nation. By acting as clients, witnesses and jurors, our volunteers play a crucial role in training UCLA law students to be competent lawyers. About 300 students each year participate in a law school clinical such as trial advocacy, interviewing & counseling, mediation and depositions & discovery. As part of those classes, the students participate in a series of specially designed simulated exercises that help them develop skills that are essential to practicing law such as interviewing and counseling clients or trying cases in court. The student is placed in the role of lawyer and this is where our volunteers come in by playing the part of the client the student lawyer will represent, or the witness the student needs to question, or the juror who decides the case. Bringing in "real" clients from all walks of life changes the simulation from a simple classroom or textbook educational experience to a real life experience. Our volunteers bring a dimension to the classroom that adds immeasurably to the clinical program's goal of teaching students to be competent lawyers. Students have to learn to deal with the emotions that clients bring to the lawyer's office; they get to practice their cross examination skills in a mock trial presided over by a real judge and decided by real jurors; or they learn that each client will make decisions based on his her own client values and objectives. Each simulation is designed to assist students in their efforts to master specific knowledge and skills. Most of the simulations are videotaped so the students can critique their performance under the guidance of the instructor.