11 Jul 2023 02:00

44. Unscripted Redirect, with Justin Bernstein and Spencer Pahlke

NITA Education Director Rhani Lott Choi returns to May the Record Reflect, this time as guest host, to interview trial competition coaches Justin Bernstein and Spencer Pahlke. You may know Justin and Spencer from Unscripted Direct, the trial advocacy podcast for the law school community. Tune in to this blast from your mock trial past to hear about how advocacy skills transfer from law school to law practice to life; the forgotten lessons of mock trial that you should resurrect; and how learning, practicing, and teaching are part of a career-long cycle for the skilled advocate. 

Timestamps & More


4:44 Unscripted Direct podcast

5:57 Trial advocacy community

9:58 Tough conversations about DEI

13:11 Building a legal podcast

14:48 Intersection of mock trial and trial practice

16:41 Three important lessons from mock trial

19:03 New practice pointers gleaned from podcasting

22:04 Life lessons from mock trial

26:01 Former students as colleagues

28:10 Things unlearned from mock trial

32:12 Why trial skills are important for all lawyers

33:30 Misconceptions about mock trial’s value

36:47 Keeping skills sharp

39:46 Skills transfer

42:58 Signoff question


“The biggest challenge the jurors have is they weren’t there when these things happened, so helping them feel like they are there, they’re watching things, even if it’s just through the narration of a lawyer, is incredibly powerful and it sort of sears into their memory.” Justin Bernstein



Justin Bernstein (bio)

Spencer Pahlke (bio)

Unscripted Direct (podcast)

Episode 5 (Adam Shlahet)

Episode 48 (Ben Rubinowitz)

Episode 51 (Rhani Lott Choi)



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