Civil Litigation

Professional Development Plan


This professional development plan takes you step by step through the most essential elements of civil litigation practice.

Usage note
  • Overview
  • Unit 1: Practicing in the Massachusetts District and Superior Courts
  • Unit 2: Drafting Pleadings
  • Unit 3: Written and Oral Advocacy
  • Unit 4: Obtaining Pretrial Security
  • Unit 5: Motion Practice
  • Unit 6: Preparing Discovery
  • Unit 7: Discovery Motions
  • Unit 8: Superior Court Business Litigation Session
  • Unit 9: Alternatives to Litigation
  • Unit 10: Issues Related to Settlement
  • Unit 11: Pretrial Preparation
  • Unit 12: Use of Experts
  • Unit 13: Presenting Evidence
  • Unit 14: Trying the Case – Trial Techniques
  • Unit 15: Proving Liability and Damages
  • Unit 16: Jury Issues
  • Unit 17: Judgment
  • Unit 18: Trial and Posttrial Motions
  • Unit 19: Appellate Advocacy
  • Unit 20: Chapter 93A Practice
  • Unit 21: Motor Vehicle Torts
  • Unit 22: Business Torts
  • Unit 23: Insurance Litigation
  • Unit 24: Medical Malpractice
  • Unit 25: Product Liability
  • Unit 26: Premises Liability
  • Unit 27: Federal Civil Litigation


This professional development plan takes you step by step through the most essential elements of civil litigation practice.

How to Use the Plan

Click on a unit to identify relevant online resources that have been selected from MCLE’s collection of programs and publications. Then click on any link to

  • view a recommended program or specific lecture,
  • read a relevant chapter,
  • select a sample form, or
  • choose a training module with a practical demonstration by MCLE's highly experienced faculty.

The resources identified represent only a small portion of what is available on MCLE’s website. To see what else is available on any given topic, click the “See All MCLE Resources” link at the bottom of each unit to conduct a search for other full programs, individual lectures, chapters and forms.

Ongoing Updates and Additions

We continue to work on this plan and are adding dynamic content to each of these topics on a regular basis, including new programs and lectures, information from our books, and demonstrations. Keep checking back for updates and new material. We also look forward to your suggestions on how we can make this plan the most effective tool for your professional development and training needs.

Other Available Resources

In addition to the resources available through the professional development plan, MCLE offers in-person programming for developing core competencies and providing opportunities to engage with the civil litigation practice community. MCLE’s signature BasicsPlus!® programs help you master the fundamental concepts, law, and skills to represent your clients successfully. These one- and two-day primers include Civil Trial Advocacy, Pretrial Litigation, Evaluating, Settling, & Trying Personal Injury Cases, Civil Deposition Practice, and Civil Discovery Practice. MCLE’s annual practice-area conferences provide cutting-edge analyses of the latest practice developments and opportunities to share ideas with attorneys in similar practices from around the state. They include: New England Civil Trial Advocacy Conference, New England ADR and the Law Conference, New England Personal Injury Law Conference, and Business Litigation Conference. If you are building a civil litigation practice, be sure to attend MCLE’s Trial Advocacy Workshop offered every summer for an intensive week-long, hands-on bootcamp to help you hone your skills and learn the techniques needed to advocate for your clients. And to enhance your deposition skills, MCLE offers its two-day, highly-acclaimed Taking Depositions Workshop twice each year, in the fall and spring.

Note to Firm Training Directors and Law School Librarians & Clinical Program Directors

MCLE’s professional development plans have been designed to complement in-house training and law school educational programs. Firms can tailor plans to the specific needs of their training programs—taking associates unit by unit through an entire practice area plan or targeting only the areas of greatest relevance. Law school faculty and clinical program directors can use professional development plans to identify lectures, demonstrations, articles and forms for use in the classroom, as a supplement to classroom presentations, or to support the student’s representation of clients in the school’s clinical program. If your firm or law school subscribes to the MCLE OnlinePass®, all the electronic resources included in MCLE’s professional development plans are instantly accessible to everyone in your firm or school.