Civil Litigation

Pitt Law's John P. Gismondi Civil Litigation Concentration offers a unique curriculum devoted exclusively to training the trial lawyers of tomorrow.

Students who wish to register for the Gismondi program do so at the beginning of their second year of study. All students enrolled in the program will take specific required foundational core courses, a clinic or practicum, and several specialized classes during their second and third years. The heart of the Gismondi program is a collection of specialized courses taught exclusively by a pre-eminent group of practicing trial attorneys whose insight and experience offer an invaluable perspective in the classroom. 

Class size is kept small in each specialized skills course to enrich the learning experience. Students are not only taught legal rules and principles in a typical lecture format but are, more importantly, assigned to "role-play" in various real-world litigation scenarios, each designed to develop specific skills essential to successful trial work.


Requirements  Name of Course
Core Courses (5 credits) 

Evidence and either Trial Advocacy or Mock Trial Strategy & Planning  (2 credits) 

Specialized Skills Courses (must take 3, 6 credits) 

One of the courses marked with * may be substituted for one of the specialized skills courses upon request to the Director)

  • Advanced Trial Evidence (2 credits)
  • Advanced PA Torts (2 credits)
  • Expert Witness (2 credits)
  • Litigation Strategy & Planning (2 credits)
  • Pre-Trial Practice: Pleadings and Discovery (2 credits)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (3 credits)*
  • Federal Civil Litigation Skills (2 credits)*
Clinic or Practicum (min. of 3 credits)
  • Community Lawyering
  • Criminal Defense Practicum
  • Criminal Prosecution Practicum
  • Elder Law Clinic
  • Environmental Law Clinic
  • Family Empowerment and Legal Access Clinic
  • Health Law Clinic
  • Immigration Clinic
  • PA Anti-Eviction Clinic
  • Low Income Tax Clinic
  • Securities Arbitration Clinic
Clinic or Practicum (min. of 3 credits) Murray S Love. Mock Trial Competition (1 credit) or Interscholastic Mock Trial Team  (1 credit)

Court Observation (0 credits)

Students must participate in the Program's Court Observation. Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County organizes a morning for students to observe court proceedings. Students must sign up with the Program Director to participate on one of the announced dates.


Enrollment in the Gismondi Civil Litigation Concentration occurs through the Registrar's Office, generally at the end of the first year. Complete the Concentration Program Continuation form before the end of the first week of the 2L year. Once enrolled, students must use the Concentration Program Continuation form to reaffirm their intention to continue in the program no later than the end of the first week of their 3L year.

At the Program Director's discretion, students may register for the program after their third semester of law school if there is a reasonable likelihood that they can complete the program requirements on time. Please review the requirements carefully before enrolling in the program and be aware of course prerequisites. Enrolling in Evidence in the Fall semester of the second year is advised to give you ample opportunity to complete the requirements. A student who wants to disenroll must complete the Concentration Program Continuation form.