Founded by Patrick Cullan and Joseph Cullan, both physician-attorneys, CULLANLAW offers law students and young lawyers the opportunity to participate in a mentoring program through Cullan & Cullan LLC. CULLANLAW seeks to provide law students and young lawyers with practical, first-hand experience and instruction in the legal profession, with a particular emphasis on trial practice. Started in 2007, CULLANLAW is modeled after CULLANMD, a mentoring program designed for medical students and practicing physicians to learn about the legal system, with an emphasis on medical-legal ethics and preventative medicine.
While the education and instruction provided by the routine curriculum in our nation’s law schools are exceptional, we believe that hands-on, practical learning through observation and participation in real cases can be an invaluable experience for law students or young lawyers. Participants in CULLANLAW are engaged in every aspect of the legal process, from client intake, through trial, and on to appellate work. Some aspects of CULLANLAW that are unique to the mentoring program include, experience with mock trials, civil litigation, and trial experience.
Mock Trial Experience
One unique aspect of the CULLANLAW program is the opportunity for law students and young lawyers to organize and administer mock trials for real life cases. This requires the participants to present actual cases to a jury panel in a trial simulation, relying on the real discovery produced in litigation, including interrogatories, documents and video deposition testimony. The jury panel is made up of volunteers from the community and typically ranges from 6 to 12 individuals. The law students/young lawyers are required to conduct voir dire, give an opening statement, present evidence, and finally a closing statement, just like in a real trial. Thereafter, the case is turned over to the jurors, who are observed during their deliberations. This exercise provides a unique perspective on the trial process and jury deliberations.
One unique example of how enlightening this process can be occurred prior to a routine trial in 2008, when CULLANLAW ran a series of mock trials for a real case which was pending for trial in Douglas County District Court. Two mock jury panels were held, each returning a plaintiff’s verdict, one for $300,000 and the second for $690,000. At first glance, these results seemed to suggest a lack of uniformity of opinion as to the value of the case, with the verdicts differing by $390,000. However, the latter mock jury panel was observed to have significantly divergent and conflicting opinions as to the amount of damages, with two of the eight jurors refusing to partake in the deliberations beyond a point, even refusing to participate in rendering the mock verdict. It was observed how powerful personalities can clash and prevent a full discussion and true deliberation in the jury room.
However, after the latter mock jury verdict, CULLANLAW allowed a young lawyer to attempt to reach a unanimous consensus among the eight jurors as to the value of the case. The young lawyer was introduced into the jury as a mediator, with the express charge to facilitate a settlement with all the jurors participating. As each juror was allowed to voice their opinions and concerns fully, the jury deliberations took on a complexion similar to that of the first mock jury panel. Finally, a settlement was reached amongst all eight of the jurors, valuing the case at $250,000, again similar to the verdict of the first mock jury.
Beyond mock trials, CULLANLAW allows participants the opportunity to assist in the presentation of real cases to real juries as well. In a recent medical-malpractice trial, CULLANLAW participants contributed to the Voir Dire (including input as to juror strikes), evidence presentation, and final argument to the jury. The result was a Nebraska record verdict for a brachial plexus injury of $1,300,000.
CULLANLAW Medal of Excellence
Each year a CULLANLAW participant is awarded the CULLANLAW Medal of Excellence. This honor is awarded to the student or young lawyer demonstrating the most dedication and commitment to the ideals of his or her future profession. Not only is excellence in the quality of their work important, but also their dedication to the honor of the profession. Personal integrity and ethics are essential attributes for the recipient of the CULLANLAW Medal of Excellence.
Cullan & Cullan LLC are proud to announce Brian Tackett, a second year law student at Creighton University School of Law as the 2011 recipient of the CULLANLAW Medal of Excellence. Brian has consistently demonstrated the highest level of integrity and professionalism while at Cullan & Cullan LLC.
If you are a law student or young lawyer interested in trial practice and would like to apply to participate in the CULLANLAW program please contact us today.
Click here to view some of the cases currently pending with Cullan & Cullan LLC.
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M.D., J.D.Medical Doctor
A medical doctor and a seasoned trial lawyer, Dr. Patrick (Pat) Cullan has an impressive track record of representing those who have suffered catastrophic injuries due to another’s negligence or wrongdoing.Pat Cullan's Bio
M.D., J.D.Medical Doctor