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Law and Moot Court Debate Club

Erik, Professor, J.D, MS, BS
Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(1,007)
Students will learn about how to become a lawyer! We will learn about Landmark Supreme Court Cases, public speaking, cross examination, Socratic Method, legal history, legal current events, famous lawyers, legal vocabulary and more!

Class experience

US Grade 5 - 8
Intermediate Level
1.  Students will learn different Landmark Cases and develop legal skills based on our study of that case (public speaking, writing, questioning, case law, philosophy, government, law).
2. Students will improve their understanding and practice of public speaking skills and specifically the skills of passion, ethos, logos, hand gestures, eye contact and body movement. 
3.  Students will improve their understanding and practice of speechwriting skills - introductions, conclusions, persuasive writing and research. 
I have been studying law, politics and government all my life.  I attended law school in California and then taught legal courses in middle school and high schools for ten years. I was accepted into the Supreme Court Summer Institute for teachers, and taught moot court and mock trial teams. 

I have been involved in speech and debate as a student and educator my entire life.  I learned more in my Speech and Debate Club than all my high school, college and law school classes combined. I joined the Speech and Debate Team at my middle school because I was very shy of public speaking. I have been hooked in speech and debate since! 

I received my B.A. from U.C Berkeley, Jurist Doctorate from Hastings College of Law, and Masters Degree in Education at Pace University.  In 2002 I was accepted to Teach for America and I have been teaching since. I have been a public school teacher for ten years with the New York City Department of Education and taught speech and debate classes for about ten years with thousands of NYC students. My debaters have gone on to win city, state and national champion titles. I currently serve as Professor at Baruch College in the Communications Studies Department. I teach Debate and Argumentation classes as well as Political Rhetoric. 

As a teacher I helped to co-found the Big Apple Debate League which is now the NY Debate League. In 2011, I founded our city's Debate League with the mission that every middle school and high school should have a debate team. I served as Founder and Executive Director from 2011-2019 building the league into the largest citywide debate league in the nation, serving thousands of students every year.  In 2020, I left the nonprofit world, and I returned to my passion as a full time teacher! 

I have received numerous awards in education including the United States Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers Fellowship, Fund for Teachers Fellowship, Plank Foundation Fellowship, and Teach for America Innovation Award Finalist.

I love teaching. My grandparents, parents and my brother are all educators. There is nothing more fun than sharing your passion with others. 

My philosophy of teaching is learning should be fun and challenging.  I always begin my classes with current events trivia.  My lectures are interactive with movie clips, songs, puzzles and other engaging tools.  We always practice our public speaking and debate skills. All my classes end with a fun and competitive speech and debate practice or tournament.  My mission is all students should have access to speech and debate.

Press. Below are some news articles about me and my debaters! I owe everything to my own debate teacher and coach and so everyday my mission is to support future debaters! 

1. First Lady Michelle Obama Honors Erik and the Great Debaters

2. Bronx debate team one of 12 school groups nationally to get visit with Michelle Obama

3. New York City Teacher Creates After School Debate League Lauded by the White House
Homework Offered
1. Legal Reading Assignment. Each week students will focus on a different legal case and reading on that case. 2. Public Speaking Assignment. Students should record a 30 second - 1 minute law related speech on our weekly Moot Court Topic
2 - 4 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
1. Socratic Method. We will use the same method as many law schools. Students will be questioned on the various legal cases, laws, decisions, arguments, lawyers and judges that we study. 2. Online Trivia Games. Every class we use fun online trivia games to assess learning and readings.
Grades Offered
Every lecture uses (Free) and so I would recommend to have another mobile device (smartphone, tablet, or another computer) if you would like to use during lectures. Or you can simply split your screen as well. 
We will be addressing a wide variety of sensitive and mature criminal and civil legal topics since this is a Law Class. The Cases we will read and discuss each week are the actual Legal Cases and the Supreme Court decisions. Topics will address felonies such as homicide and other serious crimes as well as discrimination (sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, anthroprocentrism).  

We will be discussing legal topics in history and current events. Students are also encouraged to share a legal current event at the beginning of each class. (This is optional). Students can use any news source for this. 

External Resources Statement: We will be using a variety of classroom tools, readings, links and other external resources. Please review the Materials section before signing up for this class.  These resources are optional. No accounts have to be created. All these resources are free.  All these resources have been vetted and used widely by students, schools, teachers, and the legal community. 

Comedy! If not comfortable with Comedy Shows this is not the class for you! We will be using lots of mature comedy content from such shows as Saturday Night Live and other late night and daytime comedy shows! My goal is to engage students in current issues and build a lifetime commitment to current events by making it fun, humorous and to share good laugh. Smiling and laughing while learning is my goal! 

I understand that law, debate and current events can be controversial. I have been teaching debate for about twenty years, I was a debater for another ten years, and I have founded and directed the largest debate league in the nation! So I have substantial experience in speaking and debating on issues of controversy. My rule of thumb and one of the first things I say in class and our number one rule: RESPECT - we respect all viewpoints, politics and perspectives. As a teacher I am not focused on what the politics of students are but focused on HOW students express their opinions - public speaking skills, writing skills, reading skills, presentation skills, debate skills and social skills of respect towards all others. Additionally, for any issues of controversy we always discuss other viewpoints and arguments so that students learn and respect different perspectives.
Please review the "Materials" section of this page to view the materials we will be using in each class. 

Meet the teacher

Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(1,007)
Hi Everyone!  I have been involved in speech and debate as a student and educator my entire life.  I learned more on my Speech and Debate Club than all my high school, college and law school classes combined. I joined the Speech and Debate Team at... 
Group Class


for 4 classes
1x per week, 4 weeks
60 min

Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(71)
Completed by 354 learners
Live video meetings
Ages 10-15
8-15 learners per class

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